Drop in newbuilds hits Gove’s promise to achieve house-building target

Michael Gove's much publicised promises to increase new builds suffered another blow with a drop in the total builds last year.

michael gove house building

The Government’s house building aims took another blow with a total fall last year.

There was an 8% drop in new build starts in the year to the end of September, official statistics reveal.

The total was 165,990 in England, with a 4% decrease in completions to 166,310 over the same period.

Dramatic fall

Quarterly figures show a dramatic fall of 68% from Q2 to Q3 in 2023 in house building, but there was a record high of new build housing starts in Q2 as developers rushed to beat a deadline for Net Zero carbon emissions.

New build completions were estimated to be 39,990, a 1% increase when compared to Q2 2023, and a 5% decrease when compared to Q3 2022.

Completions are 18% below their Q1 2021 peak, but 149% above their Q2 2020 trough.

Watered down

The Government’s target to build 300,000 new homes a year was watered down in 2022 when housing secretary Michael Gove (main picture) agreed to make it advisory rather than mandatory.

Instead, Gove later challenged councils to meet their targets or face being named and shamed.

He also said that any local authorities which delayed legitimate planning applications could lose their powers.


Labour has promised to reverse Gove’s plans to boost housing supply ‘on day one’ of a new government.

And Liberal Democrat members rejected a move by the party’s leadership to abandon a housing target of 380,000 new homes every year.

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