Why housing needs continuity at the top
Yet another Housing Minister - but will this one stay the course?
Christopher Pincher was named as the new Housing Minister following yesterday?s cabinet reshuffle. He replaces Esther McVey whose tenure lasted only seven months. The MP for Tamworth is the 19th person to hold the post since 1997 and the tenth in the last decade. Robert Jenrick who last year replaced James Brokenshire as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government retains his position at the ministry.
Tim Farron, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and now the party?s housing spokesperson, commented on the appointment saying: ?UK housing is in crisis. Levels of homelessness are skyrocketing, there is a complete lack of affordable housing, and the tragedy of Grenfell remains at the forefront of people?s minds?. The new Housing Minister must act urgently to ensure adequate safe and secure accommodation is made available right across the country?.
We agree wholeheartedly. What Tim Farron describes as ?The revolving door at the Ministry of Housing? is deeply unhelpful for the property industry and the public. Small wonder we continue to face huge problems of supply and demand - we all deserve housing issues to be taken seriously. For this to happen we need continuity: strong policy-making and a minister with a full understanding of the issues that impact the housing and rental markets ? and both freehold and leasehold tenures - are vital. The latter, in particular, appears to be frequently misunderstood by the government.
Here?s our take on the new appointment from Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director of Ringley.
"Christopher Pincher needs to bring with him a sense of real energy and commitment and Boris Johnson would do well to keep him on for the long-term. Without stability at the top, the government risks sleepwalking into multiple crises, as issues around fire safety and leasehold reform remain unresolved, while the continued squeeze on buy-to-let landlords threatens to make renting even more unaffordable for many.
And it's not all about housebuilding. The Housing Minister is not only a custodian of our current housing stock, but must be brave enough to think what future living is going to be as the lines between work and our home lives continue to blur. Homes must provide shelter, but happy homes make for better mental health. So if trends continue and housing is increasingly to be inhabited rather than owned, then the way we work, live and have fun must all be taken into account
The new minister tweeted yesterday, that: ?This Government will deliver on our commitment to build the housing that people need?? Let?s hope he is as good as his word and stays in post long enough to make it happen.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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