The national fiscal position is severe, and we have had to make some very difficult decisions on savings. That is why on 24 May we announced that the Government would be making £6.2 billion of savings this year. We have estimated that planned savings in the housing programme will reduce the number of affordable houses. That is why we brought forward another £170 million to ensure that 4,000 could be completed.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would never dare to criticise you, as you well know.
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his new role. The residents of the Lupset estate in Wakefield are anxiously scanning the horizon for the sounds of his private plane jetting in to tell them which of their homes are going to survive the cuts to the decent homes standard. We are also very concerned about what calculation is made as regards the impact on the construction sector of the net cut of £60 million in the affordable housing programme. How will that cut affect the 1.8 million families he is so concerned about who are languishing nationally on the council lists?
Those of us on the Government Benches who care about things such as homelessness and affordable housing provision do not need to take lectures from a Government who, during their 13 years in office, produced less affordable housing than the Thatcher and Major Governments. The simple fact is that we want this stuff to go ahead, and that is why the £170 million has been brought forward. The reality is that if one runs the country like the money is never going to run out, one ends up in exactly this position. Rather than blaming us for it, it would be good to look closer to home.