Last month I reported that the Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey had written a long letter to the UK Statistics Authority claiming that some of the figures released by the Government were misleading. But in a detailed response the Authority has ruled that the Government's figures were accurate.
Among the queries from Mr Dromey was whether the number of social homes for rent hand fallen by 40,000 or 200,000 during Labour's 13 years in office. No, came the reply, the reduction of social homes was actually 421,000.
The reply says:
There is a statistical series for the annual additions to this stock (which is quoted in Mr. Dromey’s letter) but these figures do not take account of losses, which would be much more difficult to record. Official estimates of net change are available for social rented dwellings, but not for the wider stock of ‘affordable’ housing beyond this category. They show an overall reduction of 421,000 in the stock of homes rented from local authorities and housing associations over the period 1997 to 2010.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps says:
"Writing to the UK Stats Authority was nothing but a political stunt that has spectacularly backfired on Labour. Rather than complaining about the reporting of their poor record of housing delivery, Labour would do better to focus on coming up with any kind of Housing policy. It is revealing that after more than two years the Opposition has never called an official Opposition Debate in Parliament on housing. They are ashamed of their own record and bereft of any policy of their own to debate."
Yesterday I reported on Mr Dromey's false claim that the Labour Government had reduced homelessness. I do think he would have more credibility if he gave up trying to defend the record of last Labour Government on housing and acknowledged its failings.