Amendment 198

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Committee (8th Day) – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 27 March 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Fox of Buckley Baroness Fox of Buckley Non-affiliated 10:00, 27 March 2023

My Lords, I was not going to speak, but the noble Lord, Lord Young, summed up one of the problems with this Bill in general: we have an important Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill that does not tackle the crisis of housing supply—something I talked about at Second Reading.

I want to clarify at this stage in the evening that, while the points made by the noble Lord about the green belt are not by any stretch of the imagination that every part of the green belt should be built on or concreted over, it is a misnomer to suggest that the green belt is a beautiful green area for people who do not have country homes, gardens or parks to go to. Lots of it is actually unusable by the public. What the noble Lord suggested was a review. If the review indicated that it was valuable for the well-being of the nation, that would be fine, but it would be able to show that huge swathes of the green belt are misnamed and could be productively used for housing for young people and people who are desperately in need of homes.

My final quick point is that economic growth has to be the solution for austerity and the cost of living crisis. You cannot tackle the fact that people are too poor unless you produce more. That is called economic growth. Austerity is unpleasant, nasty and brutish, even when dressed in eco clothes. We need more growth, not less, especially at this time. People’s well-being will not be tackled or helped if they do not have the proceeds of economic development and growth.