Warwick and Leamington MP says Autumn Budget was a ‘missed opportunity’

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western.

Today Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western said that it was ‘a missed opportunity’ to address the serious issues in society.

Matt Western said: “The Government delivered their Autumn Budget today (Wednesday).

“Whilst I welcomed many measures, this was a missed opportunity to address the serious problems in our society affecting our area, not least the housing crisis.

“In Warwick and Leamington, average house prices have increased by nearly £100,000 in the last seven years.

“This is unsustainable and threatens both social cohesion and our economic prosperity.

“Monthly rents have increased by over 26 per cent. This is increasing homelessness and shutting off the hope for independent living and of home ownership for too many.

“This situation has been caused because the Government hasn’t encouraged enough house building – Tory Ministers have built fewer homes than at any time since the 1920s and their flagship starter homes programme has failed to deliver a single new home in the past two years, despite promising hundreds of thousands to be built each year.

“History tells us that the only time we’ve built the high numbers of housing we need at the moment is when the Government has worked with local councils to deliver a mass council-housing programme.

“It was also encouraging that the Government may seek to address some of the issues arising from the planning legislation introduced by the Coalition Government in 2012 – this is long overdue.

“However, the Budget goes nowhere near far enough and really could have invested the money needed to launch this council house-building revolution.

“It seems bizarre and, frankly, imprudent for them now to be looking at such building programmes after interest rates have been increased.

“Instead, there were yet more empty promises backed up by little new money.

“There is also a desperate need for investment in existing buildings and this was brought tragically into focus by the terrible Grenfell fire tragedy.

“Just £1 billion would fund the necessary sprinkler systems in all our tower blocks, as recommended by the coroner’s report into the Lakanal House fire disaster in 2013. No money has been promised.

“At the last election, Labour promised the biggest council house-building programme in more than 30 years.

“There is a real housing crisis locally and we need to help people here in Warwick and Leamington and to address the homelessness on our streets. I am committed to solving this problem.”