The recent change in PM inevitably leads to a cabinet reshuffle and unsurprisingly our sector is not immune from more changes. But the important question is, will these new faces provide the stability, innovation and leadership we need to address the major issues the sector faces?
Robert Jenrick will now take on the role of Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, taking over from James Brokenshire who leaves the ministry after just over a year in role.
Robert previously commented on a Times article calling for policies to bring smaller builders back into the market and develop corporations to build new towns, and his policy idea was to build on disused public land to sell “at cost” to under 40’s. He also spoke of the need to revive homeownership at a recent Conservative Party Conference. He has also campaigned to make part of his constituency “areas of natural beauty” which would of course restrict development.
Esther McVey has also replaced Kit Malthouse as the new Housing Minister, becoming the ninth housing minister in as many years. McVey joins from previous roles as Minister from Employment and has not been widely welcomed into the housing role. She has though, on previous occasions, been willing to think outside the box and we can only hope that this kind of thinking will have a positive rather than a negative impact on our customers.
As a sector, we must then ensure that the governments priority is to deliver the “affordable” housing we so desperately need and not to overly focus on “broken market” providers to solve the issue of firstly, building sufficient homes to meet need and b) to build a fair proportion of homes available to people who cannot afford to access market solutions.
We have been delighted and very supportive of this governments support for the housing sector and the extent to which previous ministers have sought to understand and then address problems with delivery and quality and we are hopeful that the new Jenrick / McVey team will continue to engage with and support the sector.