Housing sector figures have welcomed the rebranding of the Department for Communities & Local Government as the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government – but are yet to be convinced a renewed focus on housing is forthcoming.
Sajid Javid was reappointed in his role yesterday but his title was changed to secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.
Mr Javid said: “Building the homes our country needs is an absolute priority for this government and so I’m delighted the prime minister has asked me to serve in this role. The name change for the department reflects this government’s renewed focus to deliver more homes and build strong communities across England.”
The sector is reserving judgement on whether the rebrand will lead to a renewed focus on housing, however.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Redefining Sajid Javid’s role to clearly emphasise housing is a welcome demonstration of the prime minister’s commitment to fixing the UK’s broken housing market but actions speak louder than words.
“If we are to meet the government’s ambition of building 300,000 homes a year, every year, then we need a long-term supply of affordable land. The government must ensure public land is used for housing and that private land is bought where it is needed to create new communities.
“We will continue to work with the secretary of state and the government to build a new generation of genuinely affordable, quality homes for rent and for sale and we look forward to hearing more detail about what today’s announcement means.”
David Montague, chief executive of L&Q, was more positive. He said: “This ‘rebranding’ is a sign the Prime Minister is taking housing seriously, putting such an important issue front and centre. This creates a distinct opportunity for Sajid Javid to deliver the legacy of house building he has been trailing. The responsibility of delivering the homes we need now sits at the top level.”
“I would like to congratulate Dominic Raab on his new appointment and extend my thanks to Alok Sharma as we all wish him the best in his new position. Mr Raab has a track record as an effective operator and was tipped for high office in this reshuffle. I am pleased such high office has proved to be housing. L&Q shares the drive of the department to tackle the housing crisis head on and look forward to working together to deliver the homes we desperately need.”
This afternoon, Theresa May moved housing minister Alok Sharma to the Department for Work & Pensions after he had spent just six months in the role.
Dominic Raab, formerly a junior justice minister, has been appointed to the job.
Chartered Institute for Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “We congratulate Dominic Raab on becoming the new housing minister and we look forward to working with him.
“We hope that the very valuable work Alok Sharma has been doing, including his work travelling around the country to consult with tenants, continues. Given the very serious housing challenges our nation faces we also now hope for continuity in this crucial role.”
Mr Montague said: “Mr Raab has a track record as an effective operator and was tipped for high office in this reshuffle. I am pleased such high office has proved to be housing. L&Q shares the drive of the department to tackle the housing crisis head on and look forward to working together to deliver the homes we desperately need.”
Liam Booth-Smith, chief executive at Localis, said Mr Raab is “one of the best regarded” ministers in Westminster. “Theresa May has put a potential future prime minister in the role,” he said.