[Mr Peter Bone in the Chair] — Decent Homes

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:31 pm on 27th January 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats 4:31 pm, 27th January 2011

I hope that we can finish the debate without me and the hon. Gentleman falling out on fairly obvious political ground. The reality is that Governments allocate money for periods of years-years rather than one year-which is a good thing, because it gives certainty. The Government have chosen, as they were entitled to do, to have a four-year plan, but it has been broken down into two periods of two years each, which is the right sort of balance. I hope that Ministers will be able to show flexibility at the end of two years. That is my wish, but it will be their call.

Obviously, when we change Government, or when we have a new CSR, we will have to reassess what the public finances can afford. I have not met a single person in England who does not understand that we have to tighten our belts collectively-Government, local government and everybody else. Nobody fails to understand that point. The question is how we continue the programme that the Minister has announced and deliver it fairly. As councils make decisions about what they will do, I hope that they will seek to have fairness in their community, so that everybody feels part of the improvement programme not only for their own home, but for that community as a whole.