Baroness Taylor of Stevenage spoke about her “passion for housing” during her maiden speech in the House of Lords. 

Baroness Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, used her first speech to call for an increase in the number of homes – and especially social homes – that are built. 

It came during a motion that discussed housing market problems across the UK. 

Beginning with a more personal introduction, she said that being a baroness “would never have come into [her] wildest dreams”, and spoke of her warm welcome to parliament and of her lifelong relationship to Stevenage. 

She thanked Sir Keir Starmer – who has now called for the House of Lords to be abolished – for her nomination to the chamber. 

Baroness Taylor described Lord Silkin as a “local hero” for his role in overcoming opposition from old town residents to the building of a new town in Stevenage. 

She brought attention to the fact that the plan for the new town of Stevenage “was to be a town with a variety of housing to meet the needs of working families of all income levels”. 

Praising the number of social homes built between 1945 and 1980 – 4.4 million – she criticised the “failure to replace the stock bought under right to buy”, a policy introduced by Margaret Thatcher. 

That failure, she said, “means that, in Stevenage, our stock has fallen from 32,000 to less than 8,000 homes. The promise to our pioneers that their children, grandchildren and parents would be housed has been broken”. 

Baroness Taylor also noted that the “right-to-buy funding regime permits only 40 per cent of the cost of constructing a replacement dwelling to come from right-to-buy receipts”, and that more than 40 per cent of sold social homes are now rented privately. 

She said that “affordable social housing” had been “turned into unaffordable private rented housing, with a consequent catastrophic effect on family budgets”, and that this was “economically illiterate” with increased spending on housing benefit. 

Commenting on the low number of houses being built, Baroness Taylor said: “This problem will not get better unless we turbo-charge the number of homes of all tenures, particularly social housing, that we build in this country.

"Let us get back to those first principles of our new towns – of building communities and homes, not just places and houses. 

“Let us build sustainably, so that we do not exacerbate the backlog of £204 million that I will need to decarbonise 8,000 social homes in Stevenage. 

“We all know that a safe, warm, secure home is the foundation stone for every individual, family and community. 

“Let us renew our vision, our focus and our inspiration so that everyone in our country, and indeed future generations, will have the opportunity of a home that enhances their dignity.”