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LABOUR CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT OVER HOUSING BILL

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Shadow housing minister Nick Raynsford today challenged the government to come clean over the lengthy delays in the...
Shadow housing minister Nick Raynsford today challenged the government to come clean over the lengthy delays in the introductions of the housing bill.

'The bill, which was announced in the Queens Speech, has yet to appear. It was originally expected in early December; then we heard it would be introduced before Christmas; it was then predicted to have it's first reading as soon as parliament returned from the Christmas recess. On all three occasions it failed to appear.

Until recently, revised forecasts suggested it would be introduced in mid-January; but now rumours suggest that it may be put back to late January, early February or even later.

It is extraordinary, particularly in a parliamentary session which has such a dearth of legislation, that what is supposed to be one of the government's main bills has been so delayed.

There could be a number of causes. Defective drafting, arguments between government departments, last minute alterations and panic about its likely electoral unpopularity - all of these have been suggested at one time or another as the cause of the delay.

It is time for the government to come clean. If they have lost their nerve they should admit it. If they simply can't get their act together, then it is time they handed over to a Labour government which knows what the country needs and will legislate to that effect.'

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