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I beg to move,
That this House
has considered affordable housing in London.
[Interruption.] We seem to have been attacked by some sort of ghost in the acoustic system.
As long ago as 1946, Anthony Eden laid out a vision of a property-owning democracy, describing ownership of property as
“a reward, a right and a responsibility that must be shared as equitably as possible among all our citizens.”
I hope that both Government and Opposition Members agree with that sentiment. Demand for housing in London is at record levels. The population of our city recently exceeded the pre-war high of 8.6 million, overtaking the peak in 1939. It is growing by 100,000 people per year. That rate is forecast to continue, and by 2030 the population of our city will exceed 10 million. That population growth means that each and every year we need to build 50,000 more homes in the city to keep pace with population demand. I ask Members to keep that number in mind as we continue the debate.
The challenge that our city faces is that for the last 20 years or so we have been building only between 15,000 and 25,000 new homes a year, meaning that each and every year we are building fewer houses than required to meet population demand. That situation is clearly not sustainable. I have done some calculations for the period since 2000: in that time, we have built about 300,000 fewer homes than required to meet population demands, so we have that accumulated under-supply in our city. As a consequence, there are enormous pressures on the availability and affordability of houses in this city, as Members know from their constituency casework. [Interruption.]