Housing: Availability and Affordability - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:32 pm on 12th October 2017.

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Photo of Lord Smith of Leigh Lord Smith of Leigh Labour 2:32 pm, 12th October 2017

My Lords, I thank everyone for their contribution to the debate today. I think there was an overwhelming consensus on the scale of the problem. Considerable expertise and knowledge were shown. As the Minister reflected on, there were obviously criticisms of government, but they were criticisms of outcomes. There were a lot of positive suggestions from across the House on what we should do and what changes are to be made to see results.

I also felt a lot passion, again from across the House, with speakers understanding that if we are to help people achieve that aspiration for decent houses we have to do better than we are doing today. The Minister is well respected in the House and gave us a good summing-up—we will obviously read all that. It is an issue of supply, although it was not mentioned that the Governor of the Bank of England has already advised us that interest rates are likely to rise in the near future, which usually impacts on housing—and of course we do not know the impact of Brexit. My noble friend Lord Morris of Handsworth suggested that we might put as much emphasis on housing as we do on Brexit. I hope that he was not suggesting that we put David Davis in charge of housing, because that is something that I do not think that we could agree on.

The word that we heard across the House was “investment”: investment in buildings and investment in people. That should remind us that the benefits of housing are financial across the range for the Government. If we did a proper cost-benefit analysis of getting affordable housing right, we would see that we would save on housing benefit, on social welfare costs and right across the piece. I welcome the Government’s commitment to housing. We want to see a positive outcome—that was the mood across the House. I again thank noble Lords for their contributions.

Motion agreed.