A consultation that runs until 7 December proposes that for the short term, the 2014-based data will be used to assess local housing need.

National planning guidance would make it clear that the lower numbers in the ONS’ 2016-based projections “do not qualify as an exceptional circumstance that justifies a departure from the standard methodology”.

The consultation said the 2016-based ONS projections had “led some areas to reconsider the number of homes they were planning for”.

It stated though: “Lower household projections do not mean fewer homes need to be built.

“If more homes are planned for and delivered, more people will be able to own or rent their own home.

“This consultation, therefore, proposes changes to the standard method to ensure consistency with the objective of building more homes, while providing the stability communities need.”

For the longer term, the government will seek a new assessment for subsequent household projections that would seek to deliver 300,000 homes a year on average by the mid-2020s.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “We must tackle the historic shortage of new homes and restore the dream of ownership for the next generation.

“To do this, we must build more and better homes, faster and are committed to delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

“These proposals maintain this commitment and crucially gives stability and certainty for local authorities, so they can get on with the job of building the homes their communities need.”

The new standard method of calculating housing need was introduced to prevent each area from devising its own system, which had been seen as causing disputes and delays.

It was set out by then-communities secretary Sajid Javid in September 2017.