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Britain unlikely to hit 300,000 home building target, admits Gove

Housing secretary says high point of 244,000 completions a year before the pandemic was a 'high point'.

Nigel Lewis

gove house building target housing

Housing secretary Michael Gove has admitted that the government’s target to build 300,000 homes this year is unlikely to be achieved this year.

Responding to a question from Clive Betts MP, chair of his department’s parliamentary committee, Gove said the pre-pandemic peak of 244,000 home completions was unlikely to be exceeded.

The minister, who was busy last week doing the rounds of the TV and radio studios whipping up support for Boris Johnson’s Right to Buy initiative for social housing providers, did say that the commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year remained ‘in place’.

At the start of the session, Betts quoted former housing secretary Robert Jenrick, who had said that the “housing crisis is like a snowball every growing bigger and bigger and that the window of opportunity to fix it is starting to close”.

Economic headwinds

In response, Gove said following the pandemic there have been a “number of economic headwinds that have made life more difficult!.

Warming to his theme, he added that: “We will do everything we can to meet [the 300,000 completions a year target] but there are a number of factors that have, and are going to make it, more difficult to achieve.”

The comments will make interesting reading at the Propertymark HQ, where policy officer Eleanor Bateman only recent said that “sales and lettings agents do not have enough homes to meet demand from buyers or renters.

“What they needed to hear… is more detail on how his government intends to ensure the planning system is geared up to boost new supply.”

Watch the session in full.

June 14, 2022

One comment

  1. It is not just economic headwinds that is hampering new developments from being built, I have it on good authority that many key individuals in the planning departments around the country are still working from home, and access to them in difficult. Also their numbers are depleted as many have left the public sector to go into private practice which is better paid. So less people in the planning departments, and those that are, harder to communicate with.

    Mr Gove needs to level up this situation very quickly, hopefully before he is re-shuffled to replace the Home Secretary or similar.

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