Following his statement on the Government's Five Year Housing Plan, John Prescott was pressed by Sir George Young, a former Housing Minister, on his commitment to affordable homes in rural areas.
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): The Deputy Prime Minister said in his statement that we also want more affordable homes in rural areas, and he is absolutely right. Why then has he made it more difficult for local authorities in rural areas such as Test Valley to do exactly that, by unilaterally ending the programme funded under local authority social housing grant, funded out of their capital receipts, which has resulted in a decimated programme of affordable homes? Will he reconsider that decision and reintroduce that programme?
The Deputy Prime Minister: The view that we took in the Department was that the programme was an inefficient way of dealing with the matter, and we put more resources into doubling the investment. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, he was in a Government who halved that investment over a period, which was certainly not very helpful to his rural constituents.
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GY:"Test Valley and other councils were using their capital receipts to build homes for local people, and they were stopped by John Prescott. He took the money away, reallocated it, and the programme has been decimated."