Keir Starmer MP uses PMQs to challenge Cameron on housing bill
PUBLISHED: 18:35 11 May 2016 | UPDATED: 18:36 11 May 2016
Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer used a rare chance to ask a question directly of Prime Minister David Cameron today to highlight the extent of the housing crisis in Camden.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Starmer asked how the controversial housing and planning bill can be expected to improve the situation for those in urgent need of housing.
He told Mr Cameron: “In my first year as an MP, every other person in my constituency advice surgeries has been an anxious council tenant, usually a mum and dad and two or three children living in a one bedroom flat.
“They are often in tears. They cannot afford to rent in the private sector, and they absolutely cannot afford a starter home.”
Mr Starmer asked: “Can the Prime Minister explain in practical and meaningful terms that I can read to them from Hansard when I go to them on Friday, why the housing and planning bill will not make their unbearable situation worse?”
The Prime Minster said that extending right-to-buy and help-to-buy schemes would help Mr Starmer’s constituents, as well as having more shared ownership and starter homes for sale.
So-called “starter homes” in London have come under fire for having price tags of up to £450,000, and shared-ownership schemes have also been criticised as exploitative.
The housing and planning bill extends the right-to-buy to housing association tenants, but also compels local authorities to sell off high value council housing stock to build replacement homes.
Camden Council is vehemently opposed to the bill as it says it will disproportionately affect inner London boroughs where housing stock is particularly valuable and waiting lists extremely long.
The bill is currently going through the ‘ping-pong’ procedure between the Lords and the Commons as the two houses attempt to agree on its exact wording.