Michael Gove backs 300,000 homes target


Returning housing secretary Michael Gove has recommitted to the Conservative manifesto pledge of building 300,000 homes per year by the mid 2020s.

Gove was questioned on it the BBC Sunday’s Laura Kuenssberg, replying simply “yes”.

This could be viewed as Gove putting distance between himself and the policies of former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who labelled such housing targets “Stalinist”.

Gove said: “No one can deny that it’s going to be made more difficult because of the economic circumstances that we face.

“We need to build more homes – we need to build more homes for people to own, we also need to build more homes for social rent, we need to build more council houses, more housing association homes. We need to build the right homes in the right places.

“We need to be straight with people: the cost of materials has increased because of the problems with global supply chains and also a very tight labour market means that the capacity to build those homes at the rate we want is constrained.

“The top-down housing targets that… Liz was referring to are part of a broader and different calculation from the 300,000 in the manifesto.

“My view is that what we do need is a fair way of allocating housing need that takes account of changes in population.”

Gove himself hasn’t seemed enamoured by the housing target in the past, which was made by then-Chancellor Philip Hammond in 2017, before the party recommitted to the aim in the 2019 manifesto.

During his last stint as housing secretary Gove said he wasn’t “bound” by a particular target, adding that the government shouldn’t have to adhere to “arbitrary” goals.

Earlier this year, former housing secretary Robert Jenrick said the government would “miss their 300,000-homes-a-year manifesto pledge by a country mile”.

Gove also said the investment zones policy from Truss was currently under review, which proposed creating regions of the UK with low taxes and looser regulations.

He was also asked about how you deal with substandard landlords.

Gove responded: “We have new legislation to make sure that central landlords live up to their responsibilities. tougher regulation, a stronger voice for tenants, bigger penalties for social landlords who are keeping people in homes for social rent which are not fit for habitation.

“And we’re also bringing in legislation to deal with the private rented sector as well.”

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