The Department receives a large number of representations on house building. I must tell the hon. Gentleman that almost all of them argue that we should do more to build more homes in all parts of the country, including Lichfield. That is exactly what I have set out to do in my great nine months as Housing Minister.
Oh good! Anyway, of the 3 million homes, he will know that the Government project that 1 million will be built as affordable homes by 2020, but the Home Builders Federation has said that the Government will achieve less than half that number. Has it got that wrong?
No, the HBF is reflecting the fact that, over the last 12 to 18 months, during the most serious recession in this country for 60 years, private sector house building by the HBF’s members has fallen through the floor. At the same time, instead of stepping back, we have increased the investment in building affordable homes and we will build more this year and next year than in any year since we came to government.
For the first time, I have made available Government grants and backing, on a similar basis to housing associations, to all local councils that are willing to build and want to meet the needs and aspirations that local people have for new homes. That means that this year we have under way the largest council housing building programme for nearly two decades. I am really disappointed that Chorley council is not playing a full part in that programme and not doing more to meet the need for more homes in the area.