Theresa May is bringing back the Ministry of Housing title by rebranding the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will be headed by Sajid Javid as the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Dominic Raab will be replacing Alok Sharma as Minister for Housing.
The Ministry of Housing is a phrase not heard for nearly fifty years. It was first used with the formation of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government after the Second World War.
Housing Secretary Sajid 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 Tories changed the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to the Ministry of Local Government and Planning in 1951 after their election victory. The title was lost in 1970 when it merged with the Ministry of Transport to form the Department for the Environment.
The move comes as part of Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle, and ongoing efforts to curry favour with Millennial voters locked out of the housing market.
However, industry players are concerned the rebrand is only skin deep. “Actions speak louder than words,” said David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation. “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.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB added, “We want to see continuity in terms of building on a set of good policies to unleash the capacity of the SME housebuilding sector set out in the Housing White Paper; application in terms of effective implementation; and a willingness to still be bold where Government intervention is still called for.”
Nick Sanderson, CEO at Audley Group, added, “Javid’s recent consultation into leasehold properties and ground rents is indicative that he is looking to prepared to shake things up in housing and with both sectors at crisis point, results are needed quickly; the consequences of failure in either do not bear thinking about.”