The UK has just announced its tenth housing minister in ten years, whilst the last one is being questioned about fire safety recommendations from 2013 in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London.
Former housing minister, Gavin Barwell, and others have been criticised for not acting on a report from the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group after six people died in a fire in 2009.
Media report state the group was told repeatedly that the proposals were being considered whilst also being constantly turned down for any further reviews. Now, new housing minister, Alok Sharma, needs to make sure things are actually going to change.
What the tragic Grenfell Tower fire really reminds us of is, as PropertyWire’s editor, Ray Clancy, put it: ”[That] housing is about people and their homes. Yet, it seems to have become a political and financial issue and real people have been forgotten.”
So most would probably agree with the statement that housing needs to become a priority again. Now more so than ever.
The issue, however, goes deeper. Housing minister Sharma has got a lot on his hands at the moment. The Housing White Paper made some big statements, and they need to be seen through. Housing safety needs to become one of his priorities to make sure another catastrophe can be avoided at all costs.
The Housing White Paper already suggested that the country’s planning system needs to be reviewed in order to move any key strategies along. Demand still continues to outstrip supply which keeps pushing prices up. All of these factors interact. And if you then add building and construction on top of it, another two industries that need some work, the issue becomes even bigger.
The country’s political landscape, however, is greatly shaped by Brexit negotiations. Which means it is now up to Mr Sharma to make sure housing won’t be forgotten when it comes to this year’s big changes.
Article Courtesy of: BuyAssociation