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Michael Gove criticised as he vows to take on councils that ‘drag their feet’ over housebuilding | Politics News

Michael Gove will pledge to intervene if there are delays to housebuilding as a result of poor performance by councils – despite critics pointing out the government recently scrapped its own targets.

The levelling up secretary is expected to announce he will “call out” council planning departments that “drag their feet” when it comes to processing housing applications.

Mr Gove will set out his stall in a speech in central London on Tuesday, where he is also expected to announce a series of measures to boost planning performance across the system.

A source at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said it had been “clear that the government is on the side of the builders and not the blockers” and that councils “must play their part and deliver the homes this country needs, without concreting over the countryside”.

“The housing secretary has already told councils that they need to step up, and we are providing a lot of support to help them do so – so those that continue to drag their feet can expect to face government intervention,” they added.

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But Labour criticised the expected announcement as “truly through the looking glass” as it pointed out Mr Gove had watered down the government’s own target to build 300,000 homes every year following an angry backlash from Tory backbenchers.

Official statistics from DLUHC show applications for planning permission for July to September 2023 were down 12% from the same quarter the previous year, while the number of applications that were decided were down 13% from the same period last year.

The number of approvals granted was also down 14% on last year.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Despite all this tough talk, he [Mr Gove] and Rishi Sunak have stripped away every measure that would get shovels in the ground and houses built to appease their backbenchers.

“The Conservative government has sent…

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This notice was published: 2023-12-18 20:35:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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