Housing and Planning — [Sir Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:35 pm on 3rd March 2020.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North 3:35 pm, 3rd March 2020

There is no doubt about it; there is this bias towards owning a home, and time and again we hear MPs, particularly on the Government side, talking about that ambition. These days, however, many people, even well-paid researchers in Parliament with a second income, cannot afford to do that, so we have to address homes for rent as well.

Currently, it feels that we have piecemeal development, with half a dozen flats built here and a few houses built there. That will never address what we need, and so we have longer and longer housing waiting lists, and people are being priced out of the private sector, as David Linden has just mentioned.

One way in which we can show we are taking housing and planning seriously is by empowering local authorities to strengthen their planning departments. They really need more planning officers. I think that most planning officers now work in the private sector, popping up at all these appeals that are held across the country, and of course it is the developers who win out at the end of the day. However, councils do not just need resources; they also need the confidence and the guidance from Government in order to crack on with things.