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(Photo: Peter Byrne via PA Wire/PA Images)
Boris Johnson has admitted the government might break its manifesto pledge to build 300,000 homes a year by 2025.
Speaking at a press conference in Blackpool on Thursday, the prime minister said: “I can’t give you a cast-iron guarantee we are going to get to a number in a particular year.”
The Tory manifesto for the 2019 general election said: “Since 2010 there has been a considerable increase in homebuilding.
“We have delivered a million homes in the last five years in England: last year, we delivered the highest number of homes for almost 30 years.
“But it still isn’t enough. That is why we will continue our progress towards our target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”
In May, Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, appeared to ditch the promise when he said he was “not simply trying to hit a statistical target”.
But Downing Street later the same day said the government remained committed to its target. “Our target to deliver 300,000-a-year is central to our levelling up mission,” the prime minister’s spokesperson said.
Speaking today, Johnson said the UK had “never built enough fast enough” when it came to homes.
“I think you have to go right back to 1968 to find a time we were building more than 400,00 homes a year in this country,” he said.
“But everybody understands we are sensitive to development that isn’t in the right place. That’s perfectly reasonable. We love our natural world.”
It came as the PM used the speech, the first major address since he narrowly survived a no confidence vote in his leadership, to announce plans to allow housing benefits to contribute towards mortgages.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.