Members of the Lords including the chairs of a housing commission and a housing charity debated the government’s plans for housing as set out in 'Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England' yesterday (Thursday 19 January)
Lord Stoneham (Liberal Democrat), led the debate and outlined his motives in his opening speech: 'I believe that housing needs to be higher on our national agenda as it defines our national life and so many issues - the economy, health and social well-being and energy conservation impinge on it. In fact, it underpins everything in society.'
Baroness Maddock (Liberal Democrat), vice-president of National Energy Action and the National Home Improvement Council and president of the Micropower Council focused on empty homes and the energy efficiency of homes in her address to members.
Lord Best (Crossbench) spoke of the challenges faced by first-time buyers. 'In the UK we are spared the blight of millions of unsold and unsaleable homes, since our housing boom, because we have had such difficulty in delivering enough homes, has mostly comprised paying more and more for existing property.'
Baroness Hanham (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government saying: 'It is a very determined start and I think this is one of the first opportunities that we have had to see a comprehensive view of what is needed in housing in this country.'
Other Members speakers included:
Lord Beecham (Labour), Opposition spokesperson for Communities and Local Government, Lord Whitty (Labour), Chair of Housing Voice, Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat) and Lord Shipley (Liberal Democrat).