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Michael Gove says he doesn’t know how many people will benefit from the new housing policy

Michael Gove says he doesn't know how many people will benefit from the new housing policy

Michael Gove has admitted he has no idea how many people will take advantage of the government’s offer to help benefit seekers get mortgages.

The leveling clerk did not respond seven times when asked for a figure during a car accident interview with Talk TV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer.

At one point he even blurted out, “That’s a silly question.”

Boris Johnson will unveil the new policy in a major speech later today.

But when asked how many people were likely to benefit from it, Gove could only say that it was “a significant number.”

He said: “It would be impossible to say precisely because we have moving triple figures there, but it is certainly the case right now that there are people on the housing benefit who are paying more in rent than they would for a mortgage. ”

Hartley-Brewer responded, “When you use the word ‘significant,’ what do you mean by that number?”

Gove responded: “There are more than 3 million people right now claiming housing subsidy, and a significant proportion of them also claim support for their rent through the universal credit.”

“How many of them are able to get a mortgage?” asked the presenter.

Gove responded: “As a result of the changes we’re making, more.”

But Hartley-Brewer said: “How many more? You said a significant number. How much?”

In response, Gove admitted: “I don’t know and I can’t know. Nobody can know precisely how many people will individually choose to benefit from a policy. How many people will be listening to your show tomorrow? Tell me precisely.

“You have introduced a government policy: how many people will it affect?” Hartley-Brewer said. “It’s a reasonable question.”

Gove then responded: “No it’s not, it’s a dumb question. The nature of the question suggests that there is a secret figure we are hiding.

The bizarre exchange comes as the government tries to return to the front lines after another painful week for the prime minister, in which 148 of his own MPs voted to kick him out of Downing Street.

In a revamped version of the Conservatives’ flagship “right to buy” policy, The Times and The Sun have reported that Johnson will argue that some £30bn in housing benefits currently going to rent could be better used to help tenants from housing associations to buy their house. .

But the newspaper said the vision of giving millions the ability to buy their social properties at discounts of up to 70% was likely to be limited to a series of pilot tests, without additional government funding, suggesting it may never be realized. implement at the national level.


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