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Hilary Benn MP, Labour's Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, commenting on Grant Shapp's use of statistics, said:

"Eric Pickles has failed to get a grip on his Housing Minister’s use of statistics. That’s why my colleague, Jack Dromey, wrote this morning to the UK Statistics Authority asking for clarity after a comprehensive review of the Government’s statements on housing.

"Grant Shapps' reaction is utterly telling. He fails to respond to any of issues raised in Jack’s detailed and comprehensive letter. Instead he tries to deflect attention with an outrageously misleading claim, comparing our Pathfinder housing regeneration projects to wartime Nazi bombing raids. Not only is this an insult to those who lived through the Blitz and fought in the skies to protect us, but once again he gets his facts wrong. The Audit Commission’s analysis of Pathfinder in 2011 said it had refurbished more than 108,000 existing homes and attracted private investment to complete over 15,000 new homes.

"People around the country are wondering where their children are going to live. Homelessness and rough sleeping are rocketing upwards. On Grant Shapps’ watch, things are getting worse not better. So we need the public debate on homes for the future to be held openly and honestly and not the subject of spin by a Minister who is out of his depth and out of ideas."

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