People who cannot afford homes in London should be encouraged to get “on the trains and up to Manchester”, a Tory MP has said.
Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway said the solution to the shortage of affordable homes was to boost the northern economies and shift people out of the capital city.
His call was condemned by Labour as “outrageous”. Housing spokesman Emma Reynolds because they said it would involve splitting people from the communities they grew up with.
The clash comes after figures showing London house prices have soared almost 20 per cent in the past year and are leaving millions priced out of the homes market.
Mr Ottaway said in a BBC interview: “There are still plenty of places outside of London where houses are much cheaper, much more affordable.” He referred to Chancellor George Osborne’s proposal for a “Northern hub” linked by high speed rail and went on: “Houses up there are really quite reasonably priced and that is perhaps where we should be, what we should be doing is getting people on the trains and up to Manchester.”
Asked if that would involve people quitting London, he said: “That would be the long-term result of the Northern hub, we would be moving some of the economic base of London further north to relive the pressure on housing in London and to boost the north.”
Ms Reynolds claimed: “Londoners will be outraged that the Tories’ solution for families who are being priced out of London is to move them away from their communities. The shortage of homes is at its worst in London with the Tory-led Government and Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson building only a third of the homes our capital city needs.”
But Mr Ottaway defended his remarks, saying: “It was not a bugger off, go to live in Manchester statement.
It was a thoughtful response to this economic situation.
“Labour may not have noticed but there is a housing crisis in London. I’m a One Nation Tory and we want to try and shift the emphasis away from just London.”