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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 July 2007, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Minister backs Council Housing
Yvette Cooper
I don't think anybody would support that, where you have the council estate on one side of town, the executive estate on the other
Yvette Cooper

The Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper, confirmed that councils will be allowed to build more council houses as part of the initiative to increase housing supply.

Yvette Cooper said: "We think that there's a lot more that local councils could be doing to support more affordable housing in their areas, particularly using local council land both to support shared ownership housing and to support social housing, that does include council housing.

"It also includes working in partnership with Housing Associations, with private developers, we want mixed communities in these areas so you have different kinds of housing all along the same street, but we do think local councils have a stronger role to play."

However, she refused to be drawn on whether new council estates would be built, saying: "This is not about a return to the old sort of '50s council estates.

"I don't think that's the right approach and I don't think anybody would support that, where you have the council estate on one side of town, the executive estate on the other.

"This is about developing mixed communities and that means a lot more working in partnership with other organisations - be they housing associations or developers or others."

Bonkers

Yvette Cooper also attacked Conservative Councils which have resisted meeting central government targets for house building.

She said: "We do have a serious problem with Conservative local councils - in particular across the South East region - but not just there¿ who are opposing increases in housing.

"The South East Regional Assembly has been arguing for cuts in the level of house building over the next few years, which I just think is bonkers, given the needs that we have."

Lib Dem pensions proposals

Yvette Cooper
but if you look at the schemes for low paid workers, particularly local government workers, people in the health service, they are far less generous
David Laws

Also on the programme, David Laws, the Liberal Democrats' spokesman on Children, Schools and Families confirmed the new Liberal Democrat policy on pensions would involve cutting some pensions for public sector workers.

Mr Laws said: "It depends on what type of employees in the public sector because public sector pensions are very different in their generosity.

"The scheme for people like members of parliament and judges - are extremely generous but if you look at the schemes for low paid workers, particularly local government workers, people in the health service, they are far less generous.

"And what we are therefore suggesting is that we have, just as we had a commission to look in to the state sector, there should also be one to look in to public sector pensions, and to suggest reform."

Commission

Mr Laws went on to say: "What we're suggesting is, just as there was a commission set up by the government, a very successful one under Lord Turner, which looked at reforming all of the public sector, all of the state pension schemes, there should be one for the public sector as well.

"And that will be that instead of rehearsing our prejudices on this issue, because big business tends to say that public sector schemes are too generous and public sector employees say they're not, it will be fact based and those schemes that need reform, like the judges, MPs, other higher paid workers, may well have to be cut back.

"But those for lower paid workers may well not be."

Let us know what you think.

The Politics Show Sunday 15 July 2007 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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The Politics Show is now off air for the summer. We will return on Sunday 16 September 2007, after we have extracted the sand from between our toes... so enjoy your summer too...

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