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Housing take two: Is Michael Gove ready for the test?

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Earlier this month, Boris Johnson’s took a sledgehammer to his cabinet. In the reshuffle Michael Gove took up the gauntlet as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, after Robert Jenrick was sacked following a series of blunders.

It’s a tough remit. Where we live is not just about square footage: it shapes who we are; it’s about our career prospects, our leisure activities, our productivity and ultimately our health. It determines how we travel every day and, as a result, our carbon footprint.

In the UK, affordable accommodation has become a scarce asset, especially in densely populated cities like London.

The government plans to see this off with a pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year. But it is not as easy as it sounds. All eyes have been trained on the government’s white paper “Planning for the Future” since it was published last August. The document outlines remarkable changes to the planning system, including a simplification of local plans and building permissions. And Gove will need to adapt this pre-existing plan or look at a root-and-branch overhaul.

The protection given to........

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