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New Homes

Volume 738: debated on Monday 16 October 2023

We have announced £10 billion of investment in housing supply since the start of this Parliament, and we are also investing £11.5 billion in the latest affordable homes programme to provide thousands of new homes across the country for people to rent or, of course, to buy. In July we set out our long-term plan for housing, with regeneration programmes in Cambridge, London and Leeds.

When the Department tried to change the nutrient neutrality rules, the Labour party fell at the first hurdle, showing that it had changed since its claims to be the party of house building. It blocked that, so will Ministers commit themselves to pushing through these essential changes afresh?

Absolutely. We have just heard from the hon. Member for Luton North (Sarah Owen) a crude nimbyist appeal to the voters of Mid Bedfordshire, a week after the leader of the Labour party said he was in favour of

“the builders, not the blockers”

—but who could be surprised, given that, as my hon. Friend has rightly pointed out, when we put forward legislation for 100,000 new homes, Labour blocked it? It is unbelievable that the crew of gangsters over there are peddling the same nonsense week in, week out.

For all the sound and fury from the Secretary of State, he knows that the maths does not lie and that the Government have failed on their targets. They have downgraded their affordable housing targets, and have still failed on those. When will the Secretary of State bite the bullet and provide more properly affordable social housing for people in my constituency and others who simply cannot afford to buy their own homes?

I withdraw the word “gangster”, Mr Speaker; I should have said “huckster”.

I will tell the hon. Lady who has downgraded their social housing targets: it is the hon. Lady herself. When she was running for the deputy leadership of her party, she said that she wanted 100,000 new social homes every year. What is the target now? Zero.

It is essential that we boost the number of new homes built each year for private sale, but just as important is the need to significantly increase the supply of new affordable homes to buy and rent. The National Audit Office has confirmed that the Government’s target for its flagship 2016 to 2023 affordable homes programme was 250,000 starts by March 2023. Can the Secretary of State explain how on earth the public can trust this Government to address the housing affordability crisis when recent figures reveal that they have failed to deliver on their share of that target outside London?

The significant increase in the affordable homes programme that I outlined earlier is the means for that to be done, but the difference between us is that we have a target for social and affordable homes, while Labour has none.