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Making hay

Meanwhile, the house-building lobby is cock-a-hoop at the report produced by Kate Barker at Gordon Brown's behest, which sets out an economist's argument in favour of ripping up planning protections for the countryside, and indeed flood plains, to let some of the biggest design vandals in Britain do their worst. The pack of half-truths in the announcement of the report bear a close look, not least because they give the game away about the failure of New Labour to tackle housing need. A good starting point is to look at the statements that are true: for example, that in 2002 only 37 per cent of new households could afford to buy a house, compared with 46 per cent in the late '80s. Well, that's what happens when you get a succession of Conservative governments, two of them since 1997. How many homes have they built for the poor? A clue comes in the statement that in 1996 there were 46,000 households in temporary accommodation.The latest figure is 93,000. Well done, Gordon!

Well done, John! Well done, Tony!

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