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

It is not just happening in the planning sector; it is happening across local authorities. My own local authority in Stockton has lost more than half its budget since 2010, so there is a shortage of expertise across the piece in local government to hold developers and other organisations to account.

I back what the Royal Town Planning Institute has argued for, which is championing civic planning, and building strong and responsive local planning authorities. The RTPI has also recommended that central Government do more by providing grants for social housing, by providing stronger direction on suitable land for housing, and by sharing more of any land value uplift with the public and using that uplift in value to fund affordable housing. The ideas are there and the hon. Member for Harborough has helped the Minister immensely.

That said, I also value the hon. Gentleman’s contribution to the ongoing debate in Parliament about how we can move forward on housing in the best way possible, and I look forward to hearing more of what he has to say in the future. However, the bottom line, which is where I have just got to in my speech, is that it is up to the Government to be prepared to take the steps to make change happen.