We are not going to take on Labour’s plans in this area or any other, because frankly they are not sustainable. We are going to increase the affordable homes budget to £9 billion up to 2021. We are restless to deliver more affordable homes, including for social rent. The hon. Gentleman may like to know that in the past year there were 1,100 new housing starts in Manchester, and we are talking to the Mayor of Manchester about the housing deal, which will include a social housing component.
Whichever way Ministers try to present the figures, the number of genuinely affordable social homes built with public sector grants on their watch is pitiful. If the Minister will not accept Labour’s policy, will he accept the recommendation of the Treasury Committee by lifting the borrowing cap on councils’ housing revenue accounts completely to enable councils to build desperately needed council homes—or will he confirm that only a Labour Government will take the action that we need on council housing?
The record speaks for itself. We have delivered 357,000 more affordable homes since 2010—more than in the preceding seven years under the previous Labour Government. We are raising the cap; we did that in the last Budget. We are also creating a stable financial envelope for local authorities and housing associations with long-term rent deals: the settlement is CPI plus 1%. That is the sustainable way to drive home building in this country.