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20 Mar 2007 : Column 255WH—continued

We think that we should consider additional investment as part of developing the infrastructure, but it is also right to consider other ways to raise such infrastructure—for example, through planning gain supplement proposals or tariffs such as those put forward by Milton Keynes. I
20 Mar 2007 : Column 256WH
recognise the hon. Gentleman’s point: there can be difficulties in negotiating section 106 agreements and they can cause challenges. I therefore presume that he supports a simplified approach through a planning gain supplement, which might get round some of his concerns about the section 106 system.

John Bercow: I am interested in the hon. Lady’s brief animadversion a few moments ago to the cross-cutting review. She has teased us about public expenditure and has accepted that some is required. Will she be able to extract a commitment from her Government to the financing of the estimated four new secondary schools and seven additional GPs’ surgeries that are thought to be required? If not, does she honestly, seriously believe that they will be financed by the private sector? If so, I am inclined to ask about the pigs that I see flying before her very eyes.

Yvette Cooper: As I have said, those proposals should be put to the hon. Gentleman’s party. If he accepts the need for additional housing growth and believes that that needs to be provided with infrastructure, he has to have honest conversations about how that infrastructure needs to be funded. We believe in public sector investment in infrastructure, but it is right to consider additional ways to lever in extra money from the private sector. Additional resources can be levered in from planning gain, often from smaller sites, which can make a greater contribution. It is often difficult to arrange section 106 agreements around smaller sites. Tariffs are another way.

In many areas, additional investment for education and health also results from population growth. Children need school places wherever they live. Children need places and patients need health care funding, which is why we are investing in additional funding for health care and education across the country. We need to keep doing that to make sure that growth areas get an appropriate share of the additional investment to make sure that they have sustainable public services. That is precisely what the cross-cutting review is about, and it is what our wider approach towards housing growth is about.

The hon. Gentlemen cannot consistently support cuts in public spending and investment, and simultaneously ask for additional resources for their areas to support the homes that we all believe we need. We need the extra housing for the sake of affordability for the next generation. We also need to ensure that the infrastructure is in place, not only for Aylesbury vale, but across the country.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Two o’clock.

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