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22 Oct 2002 : Column 194—continued

Mr. Clifton-Brown rose—

Mr. McNulty: If the hon. Gentleman wants to get in very quickly, please do.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Perhaps we might have some answers to the previous intervention. When shall we get back to the number of affordable social housing units that were built in the last year of the Conservative Government—33,000 instead of the current miserly 22,000? The Minister is misrepresenting our policy. The assets, of course, will still be there, even once those houses are sold, because new houses will be built.

Mr. McNulty: New houses will not be built under the existing financial regime, so the hon. Gentleman or his

22 Oct 2002 : Column 195

friends, or the putative next leader of his party, needs to tell us where the public subsidy is coming from and how these new houses will be built under the current Housing Corporation regime. In the context of what he says about social housing, I can tell hon. Members how it will not be built. That number of houses will not be built by extending the right to buy in the way that he suggests. If the Leader of the Opposition is a quiet man, the Conservatives' policies on housing offer only deafening silence. It is shameful that they offer such a gimmick. Our policies are clearly laid out—[Interruption.] I am responding to pitiful debate from the Opposition.

We then come to the Liberal Democrat motion, which is very interesting in the sense that it does not say a lot. Actually, if stripped bare, it really says: XWe give you half a pat on the back. If we include the word 'regrets', it means that we are opposing you; if we include the words 'urgent action', that means that we are in opposition to the Government." Beyond that, the rest of the motion says, XWe support every single thing that the Government do". That is obtuse, to say the least. If the Liberal Democrats want, as they say, to be entirely honest, now that the motion has been somewhat tidied up by the Government they should drop their motion, accept the amendment in full and then get very serious about it.

I question in part the Liberal Democrats' seriousness, not least because I decided to have a little look at exactly what previous expositions they had made in terms of housing policy. They have taken great care and pride, at Budget time, to produce their own little books full of facts and figures. Some little person always stands up and says, XIt has all been costed, so these are real policies, which, if we were ever to be the Government, would actually be implemented." I have XInvest to Innovate", the last Liberal Democrat alternative Budget. Where does it mention housing? Where does it mention anything comparable to the comprehensive spending review figures, or the figures that the present Government have spent over the last couple of years? It does not mention anything at all. There is no section on housing. As a number of Opposition Members said, it mentions in passing VAT on development land, and that is it. Naturally, one starts to wonder how serious the Liberal Democrats are.

The speech two weeks ago by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, whose constituency I cannot remember at the moment, was the defining moment that made the leader of the third party the leader of the effective Opposition, as opposed to the actual Opposition. Did it contain nuggets about housing—how serious a problem housing need was and how serious the provision of affordable housing was as a matter of public policy? There was nothing there, not even a passing mention.

I assure the House that we are in the business of real solutions—solutions which, by and large, the Liberal Democrats support, so they should be supporting us tonight. If hon. Members want to know what they are, read the speech that the Deputy Prime Minister made on 18 July: not vacuity, not empty-headed gimmicks, but real action and policies.

We are the Government who attack homelessness. The figures for homelessness have gone up purely and simply because, for the first time in 20 or 30 years, the

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Government have recognised that what we need to capture is the real amount of homelessness. We have entirely redefined vulnerability. We have redefined the definition to capture as many people as possible—read the priority needs order. Under previous Governments, the statutory framework never took account of women fleeing domestic violence. Under previous priority needs orders, they did not exist in terms of homelessness. Now they do; we recognise them and we recognise that they have a full right to housing when they are fleeing domestic violence. That never existed before under Labour or Conservative Governments.

We are tackling bed and breakfasts in a way not done at all by other people.

Mr. Hancock: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. McNulty: I will not, if the hon. Gentleman will forgive me; I have just two minutes.

The Government share the frustration that teachers cannot afford a home of their own, not least in London. The people who teach, treat and police our communities need a home. Public services are vital to every urban area. That is why up to 8,000 more homes for key workers are in the pipeline next year. That is why, however much people knock it, the starter homes initiative and many other things that we are doing are important.

I was astonished that not many Opposition Members mentioned the positive, productive and imaginative role that the private sector is increasingly playing in securing key worker and affordable housing, and without any public subsidy. That is to its credit. The Government also want people to feel the pride that comes from a home renewed. We are well on the way to achieving a decency home target and are considering moving into other areas beyond the social sector for that.

We stand, as a Government, for more homes for more people in need, at a price that they can afford, within communities that thrive. There should be real cross-party consensus on that, because we all represent these communities. It annoys me that the people who suddenly want more affordable housing one day are those who want the Government to slash the house building outputs in regional planning guidance and local plans the next day. It annoys me that those who have put their name to the motion—the Liberal Democrats—are the very people who lead the Nimby charge against development when they are in the countryside one day, but want as much affordable housing as possible when they are in urban areas the next day.

This is a national crisis that needs national responses; it does not need feigned differences between party policies. There is much to unite all three main parties. The Government know that power involves the responsibility to take tough decisions. We have set the agenda very clearly—far more clearly than any Government during the past 20 or 30 years. We are helping the homeless to help themselves. We are providing better housing and shaping stronger communities.

With the help of all those hon. Members who are serious about solving housing difficulties, overcoming the problems of affordable housing and meeting the

22 Oct 2002 : Column 197

needs of key workers, we can achieve a step change for the first time in a generation, so all our cities and urban communities thrive and are sustainable in ways that they have never been before. We have one chance, so I urge all parties to work with us, not against us.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 50, Noes 447.

Division No. 325
[7.31 pm


Allan, Richard
Baker, Norman
Barrett, John
Breed, Colin
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, rh Menzies (NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Chidgey, David
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Doughty, Sue
Ewing, Annabelle
Foster, Don (Bath)
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gidley, Sandra
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Heath, David
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Kirkwood, Archy
Lamb, Norman
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Moore, Michael
Öpik, Lembit
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro & St. Austell)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tyler, Paul
Webb, Steve
Weir, Michael
Williams, Roger (Brecon & Radnor)
Wishart, Pete
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Andrew Stunell and
Dr. John Pugh


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allen, Graham
Amess, David
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Austin, John
Bacon, Richard
Baird, Vera
Baldry, Tony
Banks, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barnes, Harry
Baron, John (Billericay)
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Bellingham, Henry
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blunkett, rh David
Blunt, Crispin
Borrow, David
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brazier, Julian
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Butterfill, John
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Cameron, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Cash, William
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chaytor, David
Chope, Christopher
Clapham, Michael
Clappison, James
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, hon. Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Conway, Derek
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, hon. Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curry, rh David
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway & U Nithsdale)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Fisher, Mark
Flight, Howard
Flint, Caroline
Flook, Adrian
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Garnier, hon. Edward
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Paul
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hammond, Philip
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hendry, Charles
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoban, Mark
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John
Howard, rh Michael
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jamieson, David
Jenkin, Bernard
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Key, Robert
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New F E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Loughton, Tim
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, rh Andrew
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Malins, Humfrey
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Meacher, rh Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Moss, Malcolm
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norman, Archie
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
O'Hara, Edward
Organ, Diana
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Ottaway, Richard
Owen, Albert
Page, Richard
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Paterson, Owen
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prisk, Mark
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, rh Nick
Redwood, rh John
Reed, Andy
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rooney, Terry
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruane, Chris
Ruffley, David
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Sawford, Phil
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sedgemore, Brian
Selous, Andrew
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smyth, Rev. Martin
Soames, Nicholas
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Squire, Rachel
Stanley, rh Sir John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steen, Anthony
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Streeter, Gary
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tami, Mark
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Rochford & Southend E)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Trend, Michael
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill
Tyrie, Andrew
Vaz, Keith
Viggers, Peter
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Wilshire, David
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Yeo, Tim
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Jim Fitzpatrick and
Charlotte Atkins

Question accordingly negatived.

22 Oct 2002 : Column 200

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.


22 Oct 2002 : Column 201

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