The housing strategy recognised that affordability has significantly deteriorated in recent decades. Under-supply of housing is a major factor. The strategy announced an ambitious package of measures to boost house building, including the £420 million get Britain building fund, the release of public sector land and a new-build mortgage indemnity scheme.
Is the Minister aware that the average family in Southampton would have to spend nine times its salary in order to purchase an average house in the city, and that, based on rent as a proportion of median income, Southampton’s private sector rents are also deemed very unaffordable? How does he intend to take people out of this trap, given that even if the Government’s affordable housing programme works it will produce only 70% of what the Labour programme produced in its last five years?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. I should perhaps point out to him that we have a programme for 170,000 social and affordable homes by the end of this Parliament, which will leave the country with a net addition to the amount of social and affordable housing, unlike the 220,000 fall in such housing during Labour’s period in office.
I should also point out that the most important thing we are doing is stabilising the financial situation of this country and keeping interest rates low. The combination of policies the coalition Government are following will produce the results that the hon. Gentleman and I both want.