UK housing model is ‘broken’, says Gove

Michael Gove

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has described the UK’s housing model as “broken”.

The assessment came in a recent collection of essays by conservative think tank Bright Blue, in which Gove emphasised the urgent need for more homes to be built to increase accessibility to home ownership.

With comments first reported by The Times newspaper, Gove wrote: “We desperately need more homes to bring ownership within reach of many more people.”

In another essay in the report, Conservative MP Shaun Bailey criticised the lack of progress in housebuilding over the past two decades, stating: “Over the last 20 years, the supply of good-quality housing has completely failed to keep pace with demand, causing ever-increasing house prices.”

In their 2019 manifesto, the Conservatives committed to building 300,000 homes in England every year by the mid 2020s.

However, the government has since faced pressure on the issue of housing, with prime minister Rishi Sunak making the target advisory rather than mandatory.

Last year, former housing secretary Robert Jenrick warned the government would miss its target by “a country mile”.

Bright Blue’s CEO Ryan Shorthouse called for “genuinely affordable and appropriate housing… accessible to a much wider proportion of the population, especially younger generations and those on modest incomes”.

Shorthouse also noted that “there is no silver bullet to fix the housing crisis… we need new, radical solutions now.”

The Bright Blue report contains over 60 policy recommendations, including increasing the number of social homes, decentralising planning power, creating a community right to buy, and encouraging the use of brownfield sites.


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  1. BillyTheFish

    It’s only broken due to the continual rhetoric of ‘more homes need to be built’ falling purposefully short every year but most importantly due to the complete and utter lack of new social housing.

    Neither Conservatives nor Labour have tried to reverse the negative effects of Right to Buy since the 80’s, the true source of the housing crisis. Yes, this is the very simple silver lining. It’d cost £125bill over 10 years to solve now as it’s been overlooked for so long. That’s small compared to what was given away to the wrong people during Covid.

    The truth is they don’t care as it is all about money, as usual.

  2. #ImpressiveConveyancing

    13 years later……[emoji slow headshake]

  3. John Murray

    I watched an excellent programme a couple of days ago on BBC2 – Simon Reeve’s Return to Cornwall and it really did highlight what is wrong in the whole of our country now, with particular attention to locals in Cornwall. So many homes left empty in the off-season, employed people using foodbanks, never mind those that are unable to get a job that pays a decent wage, a young couple having to leave their rental accommodation as the owner wished to sell and no alternative accommodation available for the lovely family of 5 and having to live in a single room in one of the local hotels. Hotels closed as they cannot afford to pay the extortionate energy commercial prices. And the local council refusing planning for 29 affordable homes that would ONLY be used by locals – as other locals blocked it. We really are in a mess, I am afraid.

    1. Rubberduck

      Did not see the programme but the market is broken partly because private landlords are being victimised.  Sounds like the family in Cornwall who were renting need to move out because the private landlord cannot make it pay any more.  We need to stop pandering to the minority uneducated public that don’t understand the housing market.  There are many people who want to rent, do not want the yoke of a property round their necks.  Some rent for a while after moving to a new area for jobs. Some rent as a second home for work rather than give up their main home.  Some rent while they save to buy themselves. Yet the Gov is hell bent on discriminating against landlords.  Yes a few are bad and these are seen on TV but these TV programmes mostly highlight disgraceful tenants and landlords being fleeced for thousands.  It is the only business where costs (like a mortgaged interest) is not allowed to offset income.  Hotels can, B&Bs can, holiday homes can, warehouses can, offices can, so why are landlords penalised when they are running a legitimate business?  Many private landlords take on run down properties and bring them back onto the market.  This should be encouraged to help solve the lack of properties. Conservatives were supposed to be the champions of free market but they look more like labour every day.  If people cannot afford to live in London, don’t live in London.  You can buy a 2 or 3 bed house in Doncaster for £90K, If that is not affordable what is?   56% of private landlords have sold or are selling due to measures introduced over the last 5 years. Many were encouraged into the property market as a pension guarantee, instead of rip-off pension investment funds.  But what is the difference? Pension funds invest in stocks (high risk) or property (low risk). Private landlords just cut out the middle man. This constant witch hunt for private landlords is disgraceful.


  4. Franchisee

    I agree saw the same programme

  5. Will2

    Of Course, Mr Gove helped break it!

  6. LVW4

    First time buyers are typically young, and their first step onto the ladder will be a flat. But flats are blighted by the archaic leasehold laws, preventing flats being sold/purchased because lenders won’t do their job… assess the risk and lend, and freeholders are enabled to make it difficult and expensive to achieve true ownership. This means new families can’t move up the ladder when they need more space, freeing up properties behind them. Gove has promised to reform leasehold this Parliament, but it’s all gone quiet.

    1. Rubberduck

      Flats are not so much an issue with leasehold. Somebody has to look after the building as a whole and that means a management company, but who manages the management company and ensures all owners (leaseholders) get a good service at reasonable cost. The scaremongering in the press and social media has influenced lenders.  Just like the EWS1 certification introduced by Insurers and lenders for blocks of flats after Grenfell.  Even when there is no cladding, expensive surveys, fire reg attendance and tests need to be carried out only to prove what was already there in the building specifications.   The problem was builders started using Leasehold for housing estates as a way of making more money – this is wrong.  For flats it does not matter and using this as an excuse is not fair. If a block of flats wants to go Freehold then every owner can do this under enfranchisement.  But bear in mind you will need to take on the work of the Freeholder, set up a company who’s membership will be all the owners and employ a management company to look after statutory obligations, onerous Fire and safety regulations, maintain lifts, roof, common areas, common entry systems, security and common area cleaning, common area lighting to name a few.  Buying and selling a leasehold flat has never been an issue.

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  7. biffabear

    They have concreted over the South East. We don’t need more homes. We are running out of green space.

    We need less people.

    But they keep letting millions in.

    1. boveret593

      rey tener


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