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Carousel of housing ministers ‘singularly unhelpful’ for long-term housing strategy – Davies

  • 09/02/2022
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Carousel of housing ministers ‘singularly unhelpful’ for long-term housing strategy – Davies
Industry associations have welcomed the appointment of Stuart Andrew, conservative MP for Pudsey in West Yorkshire, as housing minister but have said the carousel of housing ministers is counterintuitive to long-term housing strategy.

Kate Davies, executive director of Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said Andrew was the 11th housing minister since 2010.

She continued: “IMLA has long emphasised the need for a stable, long-term housing strategy to tackle the chronic undersupply of suitable housing in the UK, and this constant carousel of new ministers is singularly unhelpful.”

Davies added that it was “positive” to see longer-term thinking in the Levelling Up white paper, but more details were needed on how targets would be met and funded before the industry can assess how feasible the plans are.

Plans include the scrapping of Section 21 eviction notices, homes in the private rented sector having to meet a Decent Homes standard, a consultation on introducing a landlords register and a £1.5bn Levelling up Home Building Fund to provide loans to SMEs to support regenerations.

She said: “Too many housing ministers have promised to deliver thousands of new homes every year, before moving on or being removed, leaving it to their successors to repeat the same promises in due course.”

“We wish the new minister well in his role – and hope that he can make a real difference, where so many others have failed to do so.”

Andrew was appointed to the role in a cabinet reshuffle yesterday. He has been an MP continuously since 2010 and was most recently deputy chief whip for the House of Commons.

Prior to that he was vice chamberlain of HM Household, parliamentary undersecretary for the Ministry of Defence and parliamentary undersecretary for the Wales Office.

Andrew takes over from Christopher Pincher, who has been in the role since February 2020.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, added: “The continuous revolving door for the housing minister spins ever faster. It makes one wonder if either the brief is too difficult, or it does not actually matter.”

He added that public decent affordable housing was a “necessity” and building more of the right houses was “essential”.

Consequently, he said having a national plan “baked down to local plans seems simple” and that housing had been a key part of Conservative policy for decades, especially the last government.

Sinclair said: “Their abject failure to deliver a consistent team to support their excellent civil servants on this topic is lamentable. It must be hoped that the latest incarnation lasts a bit longer, gets the cladding issue off his desk and begins to focus on the future not the past.”

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the Building Societies Association added: “We welcome Stuart Andrew to his new role as housing minister and look forward to working closely with him across the range of housing issues in his brief.”

He wished Andrew “greater longevity” in his post than his predecessors, which include Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Kit Malthouse.

Broadhead said: “The housing brief would benefit from stability, continuity and a cross departmental plan.”

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, also welcomed Andrew to his role and said his appointment came at an “important time for the housing market with a lack of supply and additional costs for consumers”.

Emerson continued: “He must re-energise the planning system to remove known barriers to maximising delivery and also plan for the anticipated housing needs of older people.

“We look forward to working constructively with the new minister to find solutions to speed up the home buying and selling process and ensure critical material information is provided to consumers in a clear and transparent way. This will not only help to keep the market moving but allow agents to help level up the country.”


Housing ministers

Name Time in role
John Healey June 2009 to May 2010
Grant Shapps May 2010 to September 2012
Mark Prisk September 2012 to October 2013
Kris Hopkins October 2013 to July 2014
Brandon Lewis July 2014 to July 2016
Gavin Barwell July 2016 to June 2017
Alok Sharma June 2017 to January 2018
Dominic Raab January 2018 to July 2018
Kit Malthouse July 2018 to July 2019
Esther McVey July 2019 to February 2020
Christopher Pincher February 2020 to February 2022

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