Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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The urgent need for more social housing

Cliff Darley, who had been Wirral Council’s chief executive, would have been pleased with his memorial service at St Saviour’s in Oxton last Wednesday.

There was a huge gathering and I guess many of us were there because of the contribution that Cliff had made to Birkenhead.

My memories flowed back to my first meeting with him during my first days as an MP. Cliff was then running Wirral’s housing department.

It was his enthusiasm that struck me most clearly. It never left him.

I also remember his prophecy at that meeting.

“You will be overwhelmed by constituents bringing you housing cases”, he said.

That was an underestimation. The numbers of people wishing to move and the lack of suitable accommodation was a major concern on behalf of many of my constituents.

But, if Cliff were here today giving advice to a new MP, he would give the same advice.

He would be right to do so. Housing is now a major issue not
just in Birkenhead but throughout the country.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has predicted that more than one million young people will be “locked out” of home ownership by 2020, and that 400,000 vulnerable young people could be “excluded completely”, unable to afford either to rent or buy accommodation.

We simply don’t build enough. Huge numbers of lives are stunted by the appalling conditions in which they have to live.

We need a major programme of social house building and that programme becomes more urgent as each day passes.

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