A Yorkshire MP has urged the Government to boost business in her city by investing in factory-made modular homes as politicians debated how to tackle the country’s housing crisis.
Hull MP Emma Hardy told a Commons debate on housing that her city is the “caravan-building capital of the country” and boasted “an industrial base and knowledge that have developed over generations”.
She said the future for housing should be modular homes, which are built indoors in a factory-like setting, because they are cheap and energy-efficient.
Ms Hardy said: “I urge the Minister to look seriously at the businesses in Hull and to give them a secure funding stream and stability, so that these modular building companies have the capacity to develop and invest.
“These are uncertain times and there is uncertainty for business investment, but having a promise from the Government that they see modular homes as the way forward and are willing to invest in innovation would give those businesses the security they need.”
She spoke in a debate where Housing Minister Kit Malthouse defended the Government’s record on housing as it tries to reach its target of creating 300,000 new homes a year.
Opening the debate, Mr Malthouse said the issue was “this Government’s chief domestic priority”.
He added: “I have many times accepted the fact that Governments of all stripes over the past three or four decades have failed to build the houses that the country needs, and we all share some culpability in the housing crisis we are now facing. The question is not how it came about, but what we are doing to address it.”
Sheffield MP and chairman of the Local Government Select Committee, Clive Betts, said that to reach the 300,000 target, at least 100,000 would need to come from the public sector.
He said: “Just look at the figures since the war. We have built 300,000 homes a year in this country, although quite a long time ago, but in no year when 300,000 homes were built were fewer than 100,000 built by councils and housing associations – and mostly by councils.”
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake said that instead of selling homes delivered through ‘section 106 agreements’ with developers to housing associations so they can be rented out, some of them should be sold to first-time buyers on low incomes at 50 per cent of market value.
York Central MP Rachael Maskell took aim at City of York Council, run by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, for failing to build enough social housing. She said: “Just last Monday, the council failed again when it signed off a 72-acre brownfield site for over 2,000 luxury apartments that our city does not need.”