sixteen

14 Nov 23

The Government appears to have gone through so many housing ministers that it is now repeating them.

Lee Rowley was appointed as the 16th housing minister since 2010 yesterday after the shock dismissal of Rachel Maclean.

The sacking was all the more surprising given the imminent introduce of the Renters Reform Bill and leasehold legislation.

Rowley, who once worked in an estate agency, was briefly housing minister under the Liz Truss premiership for just 49 days.

Commenting on the reshuffle, Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents, said: “It comes as a great disappointment, but frankly little surprise, that the housing brief has yet again changed hands within this government. 

“There will be a collective groan of ‘here we go again’ from those of us working in the property sector, and indeed anybody with a vested interest in the housing market. We’re now onto our 16th housing minister since the government came into power 13 years ago. How can any long-term progress be made on reforming our planning system, solving the housing crisis, and ensuring our children have homes to live in when we have such a shockingly high turn-over of ministers tasked with tackling these issues?

“I’m beginning to question the point of having a ministry supposedly dedicated to building new homes, when in reality, providing people with places to live clearly couldn’t be further down the list of priorities for this Government. 

“The department is frankly a joke, and it is regrettable that the punchline is that this country remains in desperate need of new homes. I hope that at some point we will actually see a housing minister remain in post for the length of time it takes for a planning application to build a new home to get through our planning system. For now, it seems, I remain hoping in vain.”

Propertymark added that stability is needed so that the minister can fully understand the housing issues across the UK. 

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at the agency trade body, said:  “Propertymark is disappointed by Housing Minister Rachel Maclean’s departure from the Cabinet. 

“This makes it difficult for any housing legislation, whether that’s the Renters Reform Bill or leasehold reform, to move forward when housing ministers keep coming and going. Ms Maclean has engaged with the sector and understood where reform is needed.

“Propertymark needs more consistency and not change from policymakers. We will engage with the Lee Rowley MP, to outline how Propertymark and its members play a key role in the property sector.”

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