Housing Minister and his shadow face off: Hopkins and Reynolds squabble over stats
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government
Housing Minister and shadow face off: Hopkins and Reynolds squabble over stats
The Shadow Housing Minister and Housing Minister have had a good old fashioned stats squabble in the House of Commons.
Emma Reynolds MP questioned Kris Hopkins' words in a recent press release, in which he claimed that the government’s affordable housebuilding efforts are a "clear success story".
However, Reynolds triumphantly pointed out that in the same press release the figures show that the number of affordable homes built over the past year is the lowest for five years, and the number of homes built for social rent has fallen to a 20-year low.
Reynolds then asked the minister: "If that is a success story, what does failure look like?"
Hopkins was quick to retort that things were a lot worse in Labour's day.
The minister said: "Failure looks like the collapse of the housing market in 2008, the 250,000 jobs that were lost, the fall from 12,000 to 3,000 in the number of small and medium-sized businesses building houses, and the failure to deliver council houses at the required level.
"This government have taken responsibility for delivering affordable and social housing and picking up the failed and collapsed housing market left by Labour."
Reynolds insisted that she would take Labour's record on housebuilding over the coalition's "any day", adding that the previous government's decent homes programme "transformed the homes and lives of millions of people across our country".
Reynolds said: "In 2009 we built four times as many homes for social rent as his government did last year.
"When it comes to affordable homes, I will take no lectures from him. Labour councils are outbuilding Tory councils by 2:1.
"Will he now admit that, whether they are in power in Whitehall or in town halls, the Tories simply cannot be trusted to tackle the housing crisis?"
This was too much for Hopkins. He once again claimed that the "record will show that in four years we have delivered" - and said this had come about despite the "dismal" housing market the Tories had inherited from Labour.
Hopkins raged: "The fact that people could not get loans from banks and the fact that individuals had lost their jobs as a direct consequence of Labour’s failed housing policy—200,000 affordable homes, twice as many council houses as Labour delivered in 13 years and a clear vision to deliver more houses through help to buy, which will deliver 120,000 houses for first-time buyers."
Making sure he was being clear, Hopkins added: "Our desire to build housing is clearly on the record and we are delivering."
And then the dust settled and they all went home for their tea.