Brooks Newmark backs Government policy to bring down the deficit and reduce the debt.
Mr Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): It is interesting to hear the hon. Lady refer to the right hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Ed Balls). She is critical of our Government’s policy, but does she support increasing the debt? She criticises not bringing down the deficit faster, but if she followed her right hon. Friend’s policy, I am afraid the deficit would be going up, as would the debt.
Debbie Abrahams: I am afraid I totally disagree with the hon. Gentleman, but I thank him for his intervention.
Mr Newmark: There is a thing called “chutzpah”. Is the hon. Lady saying that her party bears no responsibility whatsoever for the enormous debt legacy and deficit the country was left with? The Government are making progress. More men and women are in work than ever before and the deficit is down by a third. Yes, the debt is not going down as fast as possible—
Madam Deputy Speaker (Dawn Primarolo): Order. Mr Newmark, this is not an opportunity for you to make a speech; it was an intervention on new clause 10, and we would like it to be relevant.
Mr Newmark: Is the hon. Gentleman aware that homelessness today is at its lowest for the past 30 years? It has been lower in only three of the past 27 years. It has been bad, but homeless today is the lowest it has been for 27 out of 30 years.
Jack Dromey: I prefer to rely on statistics from the hon. Gentleman’s Government: homelessness has risen by 30% since the general election.
Mr Newmark: I hate to throw facts at the hon. Gentleman, but 421,000 social homes were lost under the previous Labour Government. This Government are building 170,000 homes by 2015. This Government’s record is far better than that of the past 13 years under the previous Government.
Jack Dromey: Let me spell out the facts: 2 million new homes; 1 million more mortgage holders; half a million more affordable homes; and 1.6 million social homes brought up to a decent homes standard after our Government inherited a £19 billion backlog in housing repairs.