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Martin Stewart: Housing Minister position needs to be taken more seriously

Jake Carter

September 16, 2021

parliament housing minister

The Housing Minister position needs to be taken as seriously as other posts, such as Home and Foreign Secretary, according to Martin Stewart, director of London Money.

Stewart said: “We are all aware of how much value housing adds to not only the economy but also the ‘feel good’ factor to the country.

“Throw in the debacle of cladding and the failures of the leasehold market and I believe the Housing Minister position needs to be taken as seriously as other posts such as Home and Foreign Secretary. I am not holding my breath.”

Michael Gove has been moved from the Cabinet Office to the position of Secretary of State for Housing during the reshuffle which saw Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick sacked.

Stewart said: “We need to start a new version of the Kevin Bacon game, but remodel it slightly to accommodate the fact that we are now never more than six connections away from a former Housing Minister.”

Jenrick has been MP for Newark since 2014 and has headed up the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) since July 2019.

Stewart went on to say that “for something that has been held up by government funding and incentives for many years, I really would expect the housing market to be rewarded with some continuity and stability.

“There never seems to be any progress or long-term planning.”

James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester, said: “The government housing carousel continues to turn as yet another one bites the dust and it remains to be seen if there will be further casualties further down the ranks.

“Michael Gove is known as a Whitehall big hitter with a reputation for rocking the boat so we may well see some changes.

“However, the reality is probably more of the same tired, recycled rhetoric around housing policy.”

Forrester said he expects to see more initiatives focused on fuelling buyer demand to keep house prices buoyant and little in terms of addressing the need for more housing.

He added: “In recent times, those charged with addressing the current housing crisis have lasted less time in their post than it takes to sell a house.

“No wonder the sector has been riddled with scandal and an inability to reach housing targets.”

Marc Vlessing, chief executive of Pocket Living, said: “The new Secretary of State has inherited his brief at a critical juncture, with a series of radical reforms currently held in stasis due to significant resistance from within a governing party unconvinced by the manner and need for change.

“Yet this is not the time to be timid or seek to reverse away from the fundamental issue the reforms seek to address.”

Vlessing explained that it is crucial for the Secretary of State to secure both industry and political support to deliver his proposals.

He added: “The stakes are high for the government, but so are the rewards through rising to the challenge by being radical, bold and truly innovative in unlocking growth and housing opportunity.

“Here we stand ready to assist in meeting that challenge.”


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