Michael Gove has admitted he is in the ‘dog house’ at the Treasury over spending on levelling-up projects.
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities department must seek permission for any new capital projects amid concern over how taxpayers’ cash is being used.
And Mr Gove, the Communities Secretary, said finance chiefs wanted to “curb my enthusiasm” for spending on levelling-up projects.
He admitted he hoped to be out of the “maison des chiens” – meaning dog house in French – by the Chancellor’s March 6 Budget.
Asked by Peers what had caused the decision, Mr Gove said: “Trying to spend more money on levelling-up, housing and other projects.
“So the Chief Secretary to the Treasury felt that I was being too energetic, determined and committed to spending money on levelling-up projects. And he thought that the right thing to do would be to ensure that he could curb my enthusiasm.”
He said that generally it had been the case that “that for which we have sought permission, we have secured permission”.
“But I hope I might be out of ‘la maison de chien’ by Budget time.”
The Treasury reportedly intervened after a speech by Mr Gove last January in which he announced £30 million to fund improvements to substandard housing as well as plans to fund a new round of local grants in northern counties.
The announcements prompted concerns over the delivery of the flagship policy to reduce regional inequalities – a key plank of the Tory party’s 2019 winning election campaign.