Sajid Javid MP’s re-appointment as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government during this month’s cabinet reshuffle has been accompanied by the renaming of his department to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
This rebrand of the apartment to include “Housing” has been widely viewed as an outward display of re-adjusted priorities from the Government, following PM Theresa May’s previous claims that her “personal mission” is to fix the housing crisis.
Since being appointed in 2016, Mr Javid has already been responsible for a number of significant discussions within the industry: on build quality, social housing, landlord regulation and the need for further funding of residential property to deal with the national shortage.
“Building the homes our country needs is an absolute priority for this government and so I’m delighted the Prime Minister has asked me to serve in this role. The name change for the department reflects this government’s renewed focus to deliver more homes and build strong communities across England,” Javid said.
The move marks the first time a cabinet minister has had responsibility for housing since between 1950 and 1970, when the Ministry of Housing and Local Government became merged with the Ministry of Transport, becoming the Department for the Environment.
Previous Housing Minister Alok Sharma MP was moved to the Department for Work and Pensions after fewer than six months in the department. Replacing her is new Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Dominic Raab MP.
Transitioning from his previous role as Minister for Courts and Justice, Raab is notably the seventh housing minister to be appointed since the Conservatives’ election in 2010 in their coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and in which they pledged to tackle the national housing shortage.
While the announcement of another new housing minister will not be considered noteworthy by many in the industry, some organisations have been tentatively welcoming of the department’s new role in housing, as well as of the new appointment of Dominic Raab. While warning of challenges facing the sector, many are hoping for a genuine commitment from the Government to tackle these serious issues.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive at FMB, said: “Once again we have a new Housing Minister, which doesn’t really help build the continuity and greater certainty that the sector needs. However, Dominic Raab is an able and influential Conservative MP who we hope will bring a new energy and focus to the brief.
“We welcome him to the role and look forward to working with him. We hope that his focus will be on continuing to develop and implement a range of good sound policies which have already been set out by Government in the Housing White Paper and other statements. And we hope that he will be given longer to take housing policy forward than too many recent Housing Ministers!”
While it is unclear what the reshuffle will ultimately mean for the industry, many are hoping that – combined with the housebuilding pledges seen in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget 2017 – a potential boom period in construction and installation projects is just around the corner.