Sarah Davidson

September 18, 2012

Gemma Harle is managing director of TenetLime


While the former housing minister Grant Shapps has not been everyone’s cup of tea his promotion to the cabinet in the last reshuffle, replacing Baroness Warsi as Tory Party chairman, properly reflects his political ability.


Everyone acknowledges that his hands were tied by the credit crunch in terms of delivering real impactful change to housing policy and this will be as true for his successor.


That said I believe the appointment of Mark Prisk as housing minister is particularly welcome given his previous portfolio as construction minister.


It is exactly that kind of experience and appreciation of detail that in a tight spot can make the difference.


His past experience may really help kick-start house-building as he will understand the issues affecting the sector.


Mr Prisk is a chartered surveyor by profession and has been construction minister at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills since the election two years ago, where he has focused on cutting red tape.


However, he comes into the role at a challenging time.


Three persistent dynamics stubbornly drive the agenda.


While demand for social housing is at a high, new starts are at a low and the funding of the sector continues to be uncertain.


Addressing these on a one by one basis is unlikely to deliver significant gains and successful cross department co-operation with the Treasury and Communities and Local Government departments will be crucial.

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