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What Boris’s cabinet reshuffle means for the housing industry

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has chosen his new cabinet, with Robert Jenrick and Esther McVey now heading up the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This week’s election of a new UK Prime Minister has seen the exit of a number of cabinet ministers, and in the housing department James Brokenshire has been replaced by Robert Jenrick as the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Meanwhile, Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, has become the ninth Housing Minister in as many years, replacing Kit Malthouse.

Who’s at the helm?

Robert Jenrick, 37, has been a member of Parliament since 2014, and in July of that year was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions. He moved on the following year to become the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, before becoming Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary.

Until his new appointment, he had been serving as the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. This marks his first position as a cabinet member.

Commenting on his new role, Jenrick wrote: “Excited and honoured to be appointed Secretary of State at MHCLG – and to [be] working with the team to build more homes, level up the regions and share prosperity and opportunity throughout the UK.”

His comments seem to allude to a focus on spreading the focus away from the capital towards the north of the country (and the Northern Powerhouse) when it comes to housing, and as the first ever millennial to become a cabinet minister, the industry can hope that his position will see him make some good decisions for the sector.

The new minister

Esther McVey is the new Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, having previously served as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Prior to this, she was Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip), and Minister of State for Employment, having been MP for Wirral West between 2010 and 2015.

McVey is a slightly more controversial appointment, after having riled many people through her part in introducing Universal Credit as well as the “bedroom tax”. She also entered the Conservative leadership contest alongside Boris Johnson, but was ousted in the early stages. Her views on housing remain as yet unknown.

Housing high on the agenda

Mark Hayward of the NAEA and David Cox of ARLA Propertymark said: “We welcome Robert Jenrick into his new role as Secretary of State for Housing.

“Over the last 12 months, housing has been high on the political agenda, with James Brokenshire and his team working closely with the industry to regulate the market and helping to release those stuck in a leasehold life sentence.

“We look forward to meeting the new Secretary of State and his team over the coming months and hope the department’s position and policy focus stays on track.”

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