Jeremy Corbyn has made light of the Government for continuously re-announcing its plans to build a new town at Ebbsfleet.
The Labour leader told the House of Commons that the Government had put out a dozen press releases about the development zone – but built less than 300 homes out of the targeted 15,000.
“They’ve made 30 Ebbsfleet announcements and they’ve managed to build 368 homes – it’s 12 homes for every press release!” he told MPs in the House of Commons
“We need, obviously, a vast increase in press releases in order to get any homes built in Ebbsfleet or indeed anywhere else ,” he joked.
Ebbsfleet is a development area in Kent, and is connected to central London by high speed rail, which opened in 2007.
The emerging town has a station, located is 10 miles outside Great London, with trains running on the HS1 line taking under 20 minutes to St Pancras station.
In early 2014 the Government announced its intention to build 15,000 homes on the site, with the Chancellor fronting £300 million of funding.
Mr Corbyn made his comments in response to George Osborne’s Budget statement on Wednesday.
George Osborne 2016 budget at a glance
George Osborne 2016 budget at a glance
1/8 Debt forecasts up, growth forecasts down
The OBR’s new forecasts have downgraded growth in all of the next five years to 2020. The watchdog says the economy will only grow by 2 per cent in 2016, as opposed to the anticipated 2.4 per cent. Borrowing and productivity growth are also down – with forecast borrowing in 2018-198 £16 billion higher
2/8 New tax on sugary drinks
The Chancellor announced a new tax on sugary soft drinks, which is projected to raise £520 million. At least some of the money will be spent on doubling funding for school sport, the Chancellor says. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the levy
3/8 Tax cut for higher earners paying the 40p rate
The Chancellor has raised the threshold for paying the higher rate of income tax to £45,000. The higher rate is paid by roughly the richest 15 per cent, currently people earning over £42,386
4/8 Increase in tax-free income tax threshold
The tax-free allowance increase to £11,500 in April 2017 – up from £10,600 now. The Chancellor previously raised the allowance from £6,475 in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative manifesto pledges to put the allowance up to £12,500 by the end of the Parliament
5/8 New devolution for counties and powers for London and Manchester
The West of England, the East of England and Greater Lincolnshire will all get elected mayor-led combined authorities with new powers. The Chancellor says they are backed by £1 billion new funding. Greater Manchester will get new powers of criminal justice while London will keep its business rates – giving whoever is elected Mayor a lot more spending power
6/8 Fuel duty frozen for sixth year running
The Chancellor had planned to end the fuel duty freeze he had put in place for the whole previous parliament. In the event, he has announced a freeze for another year
7/8 All schools to become academies
As reported yesterday the Chancellor unveiled legislation to turn all schools into academies. He said all schools would either be academies or on their way to being academies by 2020, and that funding had been set aside to fund the change
8/8 Lifetime ISA
The Chancellor announced a new savings account to encourage under-40s to save for retirement – for every £4 saved, the Government will top this up by £1 up to the value of £4,000 a year. Tax-free ISAs will also be increased from £15,000 to £20,000
The Chancellor did not mention the town in his speech – though Mr Corbyn may have been banking on him doing so when he prepared his response, on the basis of the frequency of previous mentions.
Mr Osborne had little to say on the subject of housing in his Budget, but said would set out “measures to speed up our planning system, zone housing [and] development”.