Skip to main content

Social Housing (Halifax)

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 6 June 2006

Halifax homes have seen major refurbishment as part of the Government’s decent homes programme. Since 2000-01, Calderdale metropolitan borough council has invested £4.3 million on improving its council homes, the majority of which has come from Government. Since the stock transfer, it has had an annual average investment of more than £14 million.

I am grateful for that reply. I draw my right hon. Friend’s attention to a recent editorial in the Halifax Evening Courier, which praised Pennine Housing 2000 for the way that it managed social housing in Halifax. Will she join me in congratulating Trans-Pennine on completing a £150 million five-year investment programme, which has helped to improve the lives of many tenants in my constituency?

I certainly will congratulate Trans-Pennine Housing, which has done a fantastic job. As I am sure that many hon. Members are aware, Trans-Pennine Housing has recently received top inspection marks for doing a superb job, so I would be grateful if my hon. Friend takes back to it my wholehearted congratulations.

First, may I welcome the right hon. Lady to her new post. What a legacy! I am sure that the voters of Halifax will be as surprised as I was that in the open letter from the Prime Minister to the right hon. Lady upon her appointment there was no mention of social housing or homelessness. Does that mean that in addition to the loss of Dorneywood, the Department has also lost its social conscience?

I very much welcome the hon. Lady’s thanks. I have a fantastic, wide-ranging brief. The Deputy Prime Minister and, indeed, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (David Miliband) left a superb legacy, particularly the number of social homes that have been refurbished since 1997. I remind the hon. Lady that her Government left a £19 billion backlog of repairs, which the Government have started to put right. That is quite right—we need to build more houses.

The hon. Gentleman says that that is what the Tories did, but anyone who casts their mind back to the 1990s will remember the days when land values were low, when houses—