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Clause 2 - Personal allowance for 2013-14 for those born after 5 April 1948

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Brooks Newmark Brooks Newmark Conservative, Braintree 3:00 pm, 23rd April 2013

Before I respond to the hon. Lady—I want to have a slightly more mature debate about this—I want to acknowledge that there is a housing shortage. About 20 years ago when I did not have a job, I lived on Camberwell New Road. I had five children under the age of 12 at that time, and I had a two-bedroom house. I had five children in two sets of bunk beds. Yes, I am wealthier now and I have been successful, but that is a choice that I made; I chose to have a number of children and we had to make ends meet the best we could. My children were not unhappy in that situation; they were not damaged by it at all and they were four boys and one girl.

I want to get on to what the hon. Lady said and acknowledge that there is a housing shortage, but I would point out that under the Labour party, the amount of social housing built was the lowest in almost 50 or 60 years, and that is what has created the problem today. I would like the hon. Lady at least to acknowledge that. I admit that there is a housing shortage, but I want  her at least to acknowledge that Labour presided over one of the lowest levels of social housing building on record.

The second point that I want the hon. Lady to accept is the principle. Does the Labour party admit that people who are on benefits should behave like people in the private sector; that if housing is available for them to downsize to, then they should downsize? Thirdly, if they cannot downsize, should they not take in a lodger? That is what people in the private sector have to do.