We Welcome the New Ministers!

By Chris Seeley · 8 July 2024

We are pleased to see that the new government has sought continuity in their housing appointments. Angela Rayner has been appointed as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. (How long levelling up remains in the title? We suspect not long!) with Matthew Pennycook as Housing Minister.  Both held the shadow briefs for long periods, and we are hopeful that continuity will pay dividends in terms of their understanding of the challenges that lie ahead and their potential solutions.

Our initial ask of the new government is that continuity is maintained. The farcical situation of having (we lost count at) 16 Housing Ministers during the last administration cannot be repeated, for there is very much to do.

We are hopeful that Ms Rayner and Mr Pennycook will continue their support for the delivery of new social homes. Their statements to date indicate their understanding that properly affordable social rented homes are most needed. However, the Government will be, we believe, keen to elicit support not only from housing associations and local authorities, but also the private sector: a key player if we are to come close to the 1.5m homes target over the next 5 years. The approach being adopted by Sir Keir Starmer of a “government of all the talents” means that’s likely to be the mantra for delivery. Utilising the combined capability and capacity of the public and private sector are bound to be part of the mix.

We can expect changes to planning, top-down targets for housing production, broken down by local authority area, and green belt reforms as early steps in government interventions. There will be little, if any, new money so it will be interesting to see how scarce resources are allocated to hit new production targets whilst dealing with decarbonisation and improving existing home quality.

We wish the team and the government well and look forward to seeing what changes they can bring.

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