Michael Gove has claimed the federal government’s target of constructing 300,000 properties a 12 months was always optional – however insisted that the Tories will meet it.
In a speech in London the housing secretary stated the target, set in 2017 by then chancellor Philip Hammond, had “by no means” been necessary.
However he pledged to fulfill the ambition by the center of the last decade with intensive constructing in cities, as he unveiled plans that will make it simpler to transform empty retail premises into flats.
It comes after The Unbiasedrevealed that almost all of councils had didn’t construct a single social house previously 5 years, as 1.2 million households languish on ready lists.
In a speech in King’s Cross, Mr Gove stated the federal government can be “unequivocally, unapologetically and intensively concentrating our greatest efforts within the hearts of our cities”.
“We have not dropped the 300,000 target,” he stated. “It is a conclusion that individuals have drawn erroneously, if I can put it politely.”
Requested about studies that ministers are altering the target in order that it’s not necessary, he stated: “It by no means was. The 300,000 target stays because it always has been.”
Mr Gove nevertheless conceded that the federal government was making “particular modifications” to the Nationwide Planning Coverage Framework that will alter the best way the native plans are drawn up.
Below these modifications, the best way the nationwide ambition for 300,000 properties is translated into native housing targets would give particular person councils extra extra room for manoeuvre. Critics say it’s going to lead to fewer properties being constructed.
A report by the Commons housing committee printed earlier this month stated these plans would make it “not possible to realize” the 300,000 ambition nationally.
However Mr Gove on Monday stated he was “assured we’re on a trajectory to succeed in that 300,000 target”.
The housing secretary additionally used his speech in King’s Cross to accuse Labour of eager to concrete over the countryside after the opposition introduced earlier this 12 months that it needed construct extra housing on greenbelt.
However Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, stated: “It takes some critical brass neck for the Tories to make but extra guarantees when the housing disaster has gone from unhealthy to worse on their watch.”
Talking throughout a go to to the West Midlands on Monday Rishi Sunak stated the federal government was “making good progress” in the direction of the 300,000 target.
“Really for those who take a look at what has occurred over the previous few years, we now have seen among the greatest years for brand spanking new housing provide that we have seen in a long time and within the final 12 months that we now have figures for, the very best variety of first-time consumers in over 20 years,” he stated.
“We’re making progress, I am happy with that progress and we’re not stopping there. However we have to do it in the appropriate method, I do not need to concrete over the countryside, that is one thing that may be very particular about Britain.
“I additionally do not need to journey roughshod over the views of communities and their representatives. We need to construct in the appropriate locations – that is extra brownfield, increasing upwards and outwards, densifying our inside cities.
“These are sensible methods to proceed delivering properties. Our file on that is incredible, 2.2 million properties since 2010, however we’re not stopping there.”