‘The System Is Broken. Who Broke It?’ Laura Kuenssberg Corners Minister Over Housing

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Laura Kuenssberg interviewing Michael Gove on Sunday
Laura Kuenssberg interviewing Michael Gove on Sunday

The BBC’sLaura Kuenssberg put a difficult question to minister Michael Gove this weekend when she asked him him who “broke” the housing sector.

On her show Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC journalist asked the the levelling up and housing secretary: “You yourself said the system is broken. Who broke it?”

Gove quickly blamed a growing population, a squeeze on mortgage finance, and a shortage of new homes being built.

And when Kuenssberg referred to those in charge of the sector and how they might be responsible too, the housing secretary replied: “Oh, of course!”

The host asked Gove if he would end the Section 21 no-fault eviction notices before the next general election.

“Yes, we have a bill,” Gove said. He confirmed it would be outlawed and the courts would have money to enforce it.

She also asked him about the “really, really stark” numbers who are currently living in temporary housing right now.

According to London councils’ data released last August, one in 50 Londoners are homeless.

“Is it acceptable to have that many people in temporary accommodation in one of the richest countries in the world?” Kuenssberg asked.

Gove admitted it was not, and said he was “determined” to get those numbers down.

However, he said “the pressures are significant”, so he cannot promise he will be successful in getting those statistics to fall, again blaming population changes and the economic difficulties people are facing in this country.

Kuenssberg pointed out: “There have been 16 housing ministers in a short succession of years.

“It is impossible to imagine that that is not part of the problem here, it’s simply that the government have not focused enough on this issue, and hasn’t gripped it.”

Gove replied saying this was a “category error”, and claimed a million homes will soon have been built since 2019.

“A million homes in five years is running less than your target,” the broadcaster pointed out.

Kuenssberg then asked Gove to explain why people have been waiting for years for social housing.

He dodged the question and said broadly they need more homes – but blamed Labour for voting against Tory legislation to introduce more homes.

The opposition voted to block government plans to scrap environmental rules in order to boost housebuilding in September.

Kuenssberg claimed Gove actually sounded like a “housing campaigner” by admitting that the system was broken.

She continued: “In actual fact, you’ve been someone who has been a minister in successive governments over a period of 14 years when this situation has got worse and worse and worse.” 

“Some people might think it is almost shameless to be pointing the finger at others for this,” the journalist added.

“No, I have mentioned one specific example,” Gove replied.

He was also caught on his phone at the very start of the programme while Kuenssberg was introducing her guests – including Gove himself.

Gove was caught on his phone at the start of the programmeGove was caught on his phone at the start of the programme