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Questions asked over government's '1m new homes' figure

A trade publication claims the UK’s statistics watchdog is to hold talks with a Whitehall department about the government’s much-vaunted 'one million new homes' target.

Inside Housing says it has seen correspondence between Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, stating that his organisation will be meeting with the Department for Communities and Local Government. They will discuss “improvements in the clarity and presentation of these [new homes] statistics”.

Sir Andrew added: “Where there is a target such as this we expect there to be clarity over which official statistics are being used to measure progress and that where public statements are made they are consistent in referring to the relevant measure.”

The talks follow controversy over the ministerial mantra that the government is committed to “build” one million new homes over the life of this parliament.

Labour says that last month the government admitted that so-called “net additions” would contribute to this one million - this would include conversions from offices to residential, for example. 

Labour is also accusing ministers of changing the timescale to end in December 2020, meaning it needs 174,000 net additions each year to hit the target – 16,000 below the 190,000 recorded in 2015/16.

“Ministers have undermined public trust by playing fast and loose with housebuilding statistics, so I’m glad that in response to my complaint the UK Statistics Authority is now looking at what action needs to be taken. After seven years, the public know that housing pressures are getting worse, not better” Labour housing spokesman John Healey has told Inside Housing.

  • Fake Agent

    It won't be met, you can be sure of that. Figures will be fudged, excuses made, goalposts moved and the true number conveniently hidden for as long as possible, but 1 million new homes will not be built by 2020. It was a ridiculous, over-ambitious pledge that the government should never have made. More fool them.

  • Daniel Roder

    "Labour says that last month the government admitted that so-called “net additions” would contribute to this one million - this would include conversions from offices to residential, for example."

    If this is the case, very naughty stuff from the government. Not really new homes, is it, if it's existing stock that's been converted? You know what they'll do, they'll miss the target and then find various ways and means to boost that figure by hook or by crook, including conversions and anything else they can think of. Stupid target to set themselves in the first place, knowing full well that they were going to struggle to meet it. But that's politicians for you - promise the world, fail to deliver. I don't know why we're so shocked by it.

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