He told a Westminster Hall debate that:
"no programme....did more to destroy homes and communities in this country than the Luftwaffe in the second world war, but the housing market renewal programme did more housing destruction and community destruction than there has been at any time since the war."
The comment was made by the minister as he was questioned about the difference between money spent directly on housing regeneration and money spent on economic regeneration.
Committee Chair and Labour MP Clive Betts said he profoundly disagreed, arguing that the HMR had the support of communities, but that problems had arisen because the government cut off funding after houses had been demolished and before replacement homes could be built.
Concluding the debate, Betts said:
"Clearly, we differ about the nature of the funding streams to which the Government refer and whether, simply because some regeneration areas will benefit from national schemes, that can therefore be labelled regeneration funding."