Gove Regret over children in temporary accommodation

Gove: \

Michael Gove has said he cannot look at official figures showing a record number of children living in temporary accommodation with “anything other than regret” and blamed not enough homes being built.

The Housing Secretary admitted that “for years now we have not been building enough homes” and that the Government has missed the supply target of at least 300,000 new homes per year.

On reforms to the private rented sector, Mr Gove insisted the long-promised plan to end tenants being forced from their homes under section 21 notices will take “a matter of months”, but could not give an exact timetable.

Figures published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) at the end of last month showed a sharp rise in the number of children living in temporary accommodation.

There were 145,800 children in temporary accommodation as of the end of December last year, up by a fifth on 20 years ago when records for this measure began, and up 15% on the same period in 2022.

Mr Gove told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday: “I can’t look at those figures with anything other than regret.

“But there are several interlocking issues and the biggest issue overall is that whether it’s in the private rented sector, the socially-rented sector or homes to buy, we still need to increase the supply of homes now.

“I think that the Government has done a huge amount, you know, we will have built a million homes in this Parliament, but we need to do even better in the future.”

The senior Tory blamed the “increasing pressure on housing supply”.

“The number of people who come to this country, the number of families that have grown have meant that for years now we have not been building enough homes.”

When it was put to him that the Government has missed the Tory 2019 manifesto pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year, he said: “We’ve missed the 300,000 target, but we’ve hit the one million over the course of a Parliament target.”

The Renters (Reform) Bill is currently passing through Parliament amid warnings it favours landlords over tenants.

Concerns have also been raised over the delay to plans to abolish so-called “no-fault” section 21 evictions which were first announced in 2019.

The Government wants to delay full implementation of the ban until the courts are assessed to have the capacity to deal with new cases.

Mr Gove said: “I hope that the Bill that will ensure that we no longer have section 21 will receive Royal Assent, in other words, will be done and dusted by the summer.

“Then it will be, I hope, a matter of months after that that we will end section 21 for new tenants, and then shortly after that we will be in a position to end section 21 altogether.”

He said the legislation will have been passed by the time of the next general election, expected this autumn, and “the end of section 21 for new tenants and the election should be within weeks of one another”.

He said the review of the courts, which applies to existing tenants, should come “as quickly as possible after the end for new tenants”.

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