In a heated exchange during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party, questioned the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on his party’s conflicting stance on housing development. Starmer accused the Prime Minister’s party of spending thousands of pounds on adverts criticising plans to build 300,000 new homes a year, despite the Housing Minister stating that it is the Conservative party’s policy to build the same number of homes annually.
Starmer confronted the Prime Minister, asking whether he was in favour of building 300,000 new homes a year or against it. Sunak responded by highlighting the achievements of his government, stating that they had delivered 2.2 million additional homes since coming into office. He emphasised that housing starts had doubled compared to the previous Labour government and that the number of homes meeting decent standards had increased. Sunak also pointed out that housing supply had seen a 10% rise in the last year, and there had been a 20-year high in the number of first-time buyers.
Starmer persisted, challenging the Prime Minister to provide evidence of anyone who believed that the government would meet its target of building 300,000 new homes annually. Sunak countered by stating that the government had achieved almost record numbers of new home building in each of the past three years. He accused Starmer of contradicting his own party’s stance on housing targets and criticised the Labour party’s opposition to empowering local communities.
The exchange intensified as Starmer accused the Prime Minister of scrapping mandatory targets, resulting in a collapse in house building. The Labour leader argued that experts and even members of the Prime Minister’s own party acknowledged this failure. Sunak responded by highlighting divisions within the Labour party, pointing out that several shadow ministers were united against increased housing development in their respective areas. He cast doubt on Starmer’s ability to keep promises, suggesting that the Labour leader lacked credibility.
The focus of the debate shifted to the economic impact on mortgage holders, with Starmer accusing the government of causing economic chaos that would leave mortgage holders £2,900 poorer annually. Sunak disputed this claim, stating that the majority of the mortgage market was now covered by the new mortgage charter introduced by the Chancellor. He highlighted the government’s efforts to support mortgage holders, including practical measures such as extending mortgage terms and introducing schemes to assist first-time buyers.
Starmer argued that the Prime Minister’s approach was insufficient and claimed that the Conservative government had crushed the ambitions of families across the country. He criticised the low rate of house building, the mortgage crisis, and the lack of support for struggling families. Sunak defended his government’s record, reiterating their commitment to protecting the green belt and investing in brownfield sites. He accused Starmer of failing to understand the details of the government’s housing policies and claimed that he, unlike the Labour leader, delivered on his promises.
The lively exchange between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition highlighted their contrasting views on housing policy and economic support for mortgage holders. The discussion underscored the ongoing debate surrounding the government’s housing targets and its efforts to alleviate the financial burdens faced by homeowners.