New council house building reaches highest level since 2014
The number of new council houses being started in England has hit its highest level for nearly four years, figures suggest.
Local authorities began building 830 new permanent homes between July and September - more than any quarter since January-March 2014.
It is the second highest figure for any three-month period in the past 25 years.
But building remains a long way below the levels of the late 1970s, when an average of 16,000 new council houses were started in England every quarter.
The provisional figures, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, also suggest work on 5,460 new homes was started by housing associations between July and September, up 1% from 5,410 in April-June.
A further 33,780 new properties were started by private firms, down 6% from 35,920 in the previous quarter.
By contrast, the 830 new council houses started between July and September is nearly double the number for April-June (440).
The Government has pledged to raise the new housing supply in England to an average of 300,000 per year by the mid-2020s.
A total of 217,350 new dwellings were added to the housing stock in 2016/17, up 15% on 2015/16.
In his Budget speech in November, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £15.3 billion of new financial support for housebuilding in England over the next five years, including £1 billion for local authorities.
Housing policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is devolved to the respective parliaments and assemblies.