§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the house building industry. 
§ Mr. Clappison
The Government remain firmly committed to the continued growth of sustainable home ownership. House prices are now the lowest that they have been in relation to incomes since 1983 and low interest rates mean that the average annual monthly cost of a mortgage has reduced by £140 since October 1990. None the less, I am aware that, despite the current affordability of home ownership, the market for new homes remains depressed. The Government are providing an economic climate in which confidence may return to the housing market by maintaining low inflation and sound public finances and promoting steady economic growth.