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Raising the Housing Crisis at Treasury Committee

Yesterday at Treasury Committee I challenged Chancellor Philip Hammond over the Government's poor handling of the housing crisis. Last week's budget was billed in advance as a 'housing budget' but the measures he announced fell well short of those needed to build the numbers of homes - and the numbers of affordable homes - that our city and our country desperately need. In fact, we're spending more money on preparing for Brexit than we are on building affordable homes!

More than 100,000 children are currently living in temporary accommodation - many in over-crowded conditions in a single dormitories with their parents and siblings.

Measures designed to help people onto the housing ladder like the cut in stamp duty will only end up driving up house prices unless we also build significant numbers of new homes - because demand continues to outstrip supply so prices go up.

As taxpayers, we're all paying a heavy price for the cost of failure. In London alone, more than £600 million a year is being spent on temporary accommodation for families - much of it low quality. Most of the housing cases I see involve families where parents work full time but still don't earn enough to pay exorbitant rents in the capital.

The Government have set an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes a year. The last time we achieved anything like it was in the 1970s - and councils provided 40% of them. That's why I'm calling on the Government to remove the cap on borrowing for councils to build new homes. Property is a good investment and allowing councils to build will enable councils to provide decent homes for local families while also bringing down the cost of temporary accommodation bills. Over time, these new homes would pay for themselves.

You can watch some of the exchange here.

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