Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, yesterday voted against the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill when it was debated in the House of Commons. This Bill contains provisions to force councils to sell off council homes, legislates for housing associations to sell off their homes, and removes the requirement for developers to build affordable homes for people on low incomes.

Speaking yesterday in the debate, Emma said “Thirty-three years ago, my mom and I were homeless. She applied to the local council in the west midlands as a single parent with a five-year-old child. After a couple of weeks of staying with friends, we were granted a council flat. I will never forget the security and warmth of our new home, nor my mom’s relief that we were no longer homeless.

“Fast-forward three decades and if we were in the same situation today, we would be put in a hostel, bed-and-breakfast accommodation or the private rented sector. Many families and children are in that situation. They are often uprooted from their communities, support networks and schools, and placed miles away from families and friends. According to figures released by Shelter only today, more than 100,000 children will be in temporary accommodation this Christmas.

“In the early 1980s, council properties were not in short supply. Now, across the country, 1.4 million families are on the on the waiting list. Why do we have a shortage? The answer is simple: the failure to replace homes sold through right to buy and the failure to build social housing. I am not ideologically opposed to right to buy—I am not anti-aspiration and I am not against home ownership—but I am ideologically opposed to Tory Governments running down the number of council homes, and that is exactly what this Bill endeavours to do.”

Speaking after the debate, Emma said “There is nothing aspirational about running down the social housing stock so that families who need these homes will not be able to rely on them, like my mom and I did more than three decades ago. This attack on council housing is the real agenda behind this Bill, and that is why I voted against it yesterday.”