Social housing ‘remains scandalously poor’ in some places, Michael Gove admits

The condition of social housing in some parts of the country is “scandalous”, the Cabinet minister responsible has acknowledged.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove (pictured) said families were living in conditions which were overcrowded or riddled with damp.

At a Conservative Party conference fringe event in Manchester, Mr Gove said: “The supply of social housing overall has not kept pace with the demand, and also the quality of social housing, particularly in some parts of the country, remains scandalously poor.

“There are people who are living in conditions which are overcrowded, there are people living in conditions afflicted by damp and other factors which hold back the flourishing of the children and the families who are raised in those homes.”

Mr Gove faces a challenge to persuade Tory MPs to support reforms to the planning system to help build the 300,000 new homes a year the Government is targeting by the mid-2020s.

He told a fringe event organised by the Demos think tank: “Resolving the housing problem, however it is defined, is a way both of making sure that people have a stake in the future and that families can grow in a holistic way, and it’s fundamentally about social justice as well.”

Mr Gove said “access to finance” needed to be improved to help get people on the housing ladder.

“It is also the case that we do need to look at the condition of social housing and the way in which we can make sure that there is proper incentivisation for those who are social housing providers both to improve stock and to increase numbers.

“It is also, critically, the case that you won’t unlock supply of any kind unless you work with those who are the developers, the builders and the generators of that new stock.”

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