Dominic Raab has now replaced David Davis as Brexit secretary, which left open the position of Minister of State for Housing Communities and Local Government. David Davis resigned from his position the same morning, having said in an interview with the BBC that he was no longer the best person to deliver the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan.
Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove, has commented: “It is hugely disappointing that the housing brief is once again the poor relation. Just months after James Brokenshire was piloted in as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government after Sajid Javid left for the loftier heights of the Home Office, housing is once again trumped, this time by Brexit.
“We’re staring down the barrel of a very real housing crisis. There is a major deficit in the amount of housing supply, both for buyers and in the social and private rental markets. This lack of supply has caused massive unaffordability across the board, from first-time buyers struggling to get a deposit, to sky-high rents in towns and cities across the UK.
“The Government has made lots of changes to the private rental sector, including the loss of mortgage tax relief for landlords, the impending tenant fees ban and the proposed introduction of three-year minimum tenancies, to name but a few. There appears to be a real lack of joined up thinking with regards to these changes, which resemble sticking plasters rather than well thought out strategies. Ultimately tenants are likely to be the losers from Government mismanagement that could be in a large part down to lack of consistency in the leadership.
“We are at a real tipping point. The Government needs to make housing a priority, and this starts with appointing an expert on housing with a firm commitment to the role. Someone who can dedicate the time and energy required, over a sustained period of time, to rehabilitate the housing sector, rather than someone who simply sees the position as a step on the political ladder.”
MP Kit Malthouse has now been appointed the new housing minister, becoming the 17th person in this position since 1997.
Kate Davies, Executive Director of Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) has also commented: “The new housing minister comes into the role at a time when the government has a huge task to tackle in solving the housing crisis.
“The chronic shortage of housebuilding and the need for a joined-up policy across all housing tenures are recurring challenges that have faced every new housing minister for longer than most people care to remember.
“Now, more than ever, we need stability. Unfortunately, the British public have not been afforded the continuity our ailing housing market so sorely needs – the role of housing minister has changed hands eight times since the Conservatives took power in 2010, and 17 times since 2000.
“In comparison, the average homeowner is moving just once in more than 19 years, according to our recent white paper, The New ‘Normal’ – prospects for 2018. This means the role of housing minister changes hands more than 20 times faster than the average UK home.
“The time has come to deliver on the proposals set out in February 2017 in the Government’s paper Fixing out Broken Housing Market: We look forward to working with Kit Malthouse and hope he enjoys a long tenure in his crucial role.”