Gove – Targets are back, but will change

Telegraph reporting on Kuenssberg interview

The Conservatives’ manifesto target of 300,000 new homes a year still stands, the Housing Secretary has claimed in an about-turn on Liz Truss’s planning policy.

Ms Truss had promised an end to “Whitehall-inspired Stalinist housing targets” and instead wanted to use a mix of tax cuts and deregulation to encourage firms to build more.

But Michael Gove confirmed on Sunday that Rishi Sunak’s Government still intended to hit the promise made by the Tories in 2019.

When asked if 300,000 houses a year by 2025 – up from the current figure of around 240,000 a year – remained the Government’s target, Mr Gove replied: “Yes.”

He told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “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.

“But as Rishi said, 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’d want is constrained.”

Mr Gove urged a “fair way” to allocate housing need that took into account population change, describing some previous calculations as “wrong”.

“What we critically need to do is to make sure that we have local communities consenting to development, and that means that homes need to be more beautiful, it means we need the infrastructure alongside them.

“But it – critically – also means that we need to make sure that the environment is protected as well.”

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