Michael Gove said he was still in the “dog house” with the Treasury as he acknowledged it sought to rein in spending by his department.
The Communities Secretary said the economic and finance ministry wanted to “curb my enthusiasm” for spending on levelling-up projects.
In an appearance before the Lords Built Environment Committee on Tuesday, he said 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 on the select committee 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.”
“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.