Revolving door of housing ministers must stop spinning now, say industry leaders

ARLA and NAEA Propertymark have both called for the revolving door of housing ministers to stop spinning.

In a joint statement by David Cox and Mark Hayward, following the appointment of Esther McVey, they said: “We hope that she is able to bring some continuity to this post as we are now on the fifth housing minister in little over two years, and if the Government really wants to fix the broken housing market, consistency is important.

“There have been a large number of consultations and important policy over the last few years, all of which now require action.

“However it’s not entirely clear how this can happen if a new minister is reshuffled as soon as they are in post long enough to understand their brief.

“We look forward to some stability in this important role as a new Government finds its feet in the Brexit minefield.”

The last housing minister, Kit Malthouse, was in the job barely a year – from July 9, 2018, to July 25 this year. His deputy has been re-shuffled after some 19 months.

After being replaced by McVey, Malthouse has resurfaced as minister of state at the Home Office in charge of policing.

It was noticeable that during Malthouse’s housing tenure, much of the heavy lifting was actually done by the junior under-secretary, Heather Wheeler. Effectively, to the entire private sector, she was the housing minister.

In fact her brief included responsibility for a huge amount of the housing market, including all of estate and letting agency work, and really only omitting new homes and social housing.

Wheeler’s job description specifically included the whole of the private rented sector, redress, leasehold reform, and reform of the home buying process.

At the weekend she was moved to the Foreign Office, after being in the housing role only since January 2018.

The ministerial line-up at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is now: Robert Jenrick, Esther McVey, Jake Berry, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, and Luke Hall.

Hall was appointed on Saturday, presumably to replace Wheeler, and is MP for Thornbury and Yate where he is busy fighting plans for new homes in south Gloucestershire.

The over-arching Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is Jenrick, 37, who has more houses (four) than his predecessor James Brokenshire has ovens (two).

The Times said of Jenrick on Friday that he was the first millennial in the cabinet, adding that he will be hoping not to repeat past electoral failures.

“At St John’s, Cambridge, he came second in the race to be president of the JCR. This was particularly embarrassing as he was unopposed. The electorate backed ‘re-open nominations’.”

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2 Comments

  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    Until Brexit is not done and dusted everything else is on hold.

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    1. singlelayer

      On the one hand, I’m inclined to agree but look at all the legislation this industry has had thrown at it in the last three years…!

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