Housing (London)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:41 pm on 23rd April 2008.

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Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government) (Housing and Planning), Co-Chair, Conservative Party 3:41 pm, 23rd April 2008

I have just told the hon. Gentleman that we want more council house building. When we were in power, we built more council housing in every category than his Government have. To get to the central point, if we want to relieve the housing crisis in this country, we must build more homes, and if we want to do that, repeating the failing prescription of the past will not achieve what we require. I have told the Minister before—and I say again—that when the former Soviet Union told Ukraine how many tractors to build in the 10-year plan, it rarely, if ever, made that target.

The same mistake is being made here today with a new target: 3 million homes by 2020 from a Government who have no chance of building them. If I were in the Chamber with not a junior housing Minister, but a trade and industry Minister, they would think it insane for any of us to ask how many cars or tractors the Government hoped to build in the next 10 years. However, the Government apparently believe that that is a rational approach for housing, and that is why, 11 years on, it must be incredibly sad for Labour Back Benchers, who are passionate about this matter, to know that their Government have failed them and their constituents.

We all have constituents in our surgeries every week telling us that they are unable to get homes simply because not enough are being built. We must tackle that by building more homes and incentivising local communities to create the necessary housing. That is done by not closing down the local hospital in an area where one wants to build 10,000 or 15,000 more homes and by relaxing the rules that section 106 money can be spent only in the exact vicinity of the new housing, rather than through incentivising the existing community to accept those houses. Until we do those things, we will never build the homes that this country requires.