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[Composite: Getty Images/PA].

[Composite: Getty Images/PA].

Someone should tell Gavin Barwell not to play fast and loose with the facts.

His claim that house building rates were at their lowest since the 1920s when the Tories came back into office in 2010 may be accurate, but his claim of “significant progress” since then is nonsense.

In fact, George Osborne’s first act as Chancellor was to slash housing investment by 60 per cent, resulting in a new housebuilding low, in 2012-13, of 135,500 dwellings.

So in fact, it is the Conservatives who are responsible for the lowest house building rate since the 1920s.

Barwell wasn’t lying about 2010 – he just wasn’t being honest about the situation now.

And the “significant progress”? An increase of 5,500 houses to 141,000 in 2013-14. In the calendar year 2014, another increase to 146,359, and then 156,140 in 2015.

That’s far fewer than the 219,000 that Labour managed in 2006-7, after the Barker Review of Housing Supply noted that about 250,000 homes needed to be built every year to prevent spiralling house prices and a shortage of affordable homes.

That target was dropped by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government.

It seems to have been revisited by David Cameron, but it is clear that the Conservatives are already missing their target by at least 30,000 a year – that’s 150,000 over the five-year period of the current Parliament.

And even that number could be subject to slippage.

Barwell should address himself to solving the problem, rather than dissembling about it.

The government is set to fail to meet its target to build one million homes by 2020, the Housing Minister has admitted.

The aim to build one million new homes by the end of this Parliament was announced by David Cameron’s government last year to meet estimates of the shortfall in the country’s housing needs.

Unveiling new measures to tackle the housing crisis, Mr Barwell told Sky News that the Government is currently building about 170,000 homes every year but added “we clearly need to do better”.

“We inherited a position in 2010 where house building rates in this country were at their lowest since the 1920s.

“We’ve seen significant progress.”

Source: Housebuilding target to be missed, says minister

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