Our thoughts on the recent cabinet reshuffle

The Prime Minister Teresa May has made a strong commitment to “Fixing the UK’s broken housing market” but this week’s recent cabinet reshuffle produced a somewhat mixed message for housing. On the plus side, DCLG was renamed to include housing in the title and Sajid Javid was retained as Secretary of State for the renamed Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government. We are pleased that Javid has been retained in the role as he is beginning to have an impact on the housing agenda.

Disappointingly we are experiencing yet another change of Housing Minister with the transfer of Alok Sharma to Employment. His transfer sees Dominic Raab appointed as the 16th Housing Minister in the last 20 years. Seemingly Housing is still seen as just a stepping stone in ministerial careers and we fervently hope Mr Raab is to outlast the 8 months in post of Mr Sharma.  We hope that Alok Sharma’s recent engagement with resident groups and his commitment to address the UK housing shortage is not lost in the change process.

We have previously argued that political stability is key to addressing the supply issues we face and a continuing change of Housing Minister does not provide the stability the sector needs. Let’s hope we the new Minister can provide more longevity.

The sector will see a number of additional changes this year with the launch of Homes England and a new Housing Ombudman, which we hope will deliver the step change the sector truly needs and kick start new homes delivery.

So, what does this mean for the sector? Continued emphasis on housing must be welcomed and we hope that the inclusion of housing in a cabinet title will lead to a real step change in the commitment to address the housing crisis we currently face, as they say actions speak louder than words.