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Croydon MP Sir Richard Ottaway criticised for telling residents to 'move to Manchester' if they can't afford house in area

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Croydon residents who can't afford a house in the area should get "on the trains and up to Manchester", according to one of the borough's MPs. Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics on June 29, Croydon South's Sir Richard Ottaway said the solution to a shortage of affordable homes in the area was for people to move to the cheaper north of England. Asked by host Tim Donovan about the housing shortage Sir Richard said: "I can't sit here and deny the fact that house prices in London are skyrocketing. "There are plenty of places outside of London where houses are much cheaper, much more affordable. "I mean, we were talking … about the northern hub, houses up there are really quite reasonably priced and that is perhaps what we should be doing, is getting people on the trains and up to Manchester." Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones described them as "out of touch". She said: "To suggest that people move 200 miles from their homes, jobs, friends and family is a real kick in the teeth. "I speak to families every week who, like me, have lived in Croydon their whole lives and are now struggling because of the complete failure of this Conservative government to deal with spiralling housing costs. "Everyone in Croydon deserves a decent and affordable home." But Sir Richard has since defended his remarks, insisting he was referring to a long-term solution to reduce demand for affordable housing in London by improving the economy of the north. He said: "It certainly wasn't a bugger off to Manchester statement. "If we can persuade people from migrating into London and get them to move to a northern hub instead, it will reduce demand. "We've [the coalition government] built 70,000 affordable homes in London since 2010 and we've built more council houses than the last Labour government."

Croydon MP Sir Richard Ottaway criticised for telling residents to 'move to Manchester' if they can't afford house in area


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