Given the importance of the housing issue to the Conservatives, it’s not surprising that the re-shuffle involves yet another change in housing. This week brings in a rising star in the Conservative party, Dominic Raab, to be given the task of tackling one of the key re-election issues of the age – the so called housing crisis.
So, as the 16th housing minister to be appointed in 20 years, Raab takes over from Alok Sharma, who has been in post for just 6 months. The move sees the current incumbent appointed Minister of State for Employment.
Giving Dominic Raab the title of “Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government” puts housing at the centre of the department’s agenda, an indication of Theresa May’s desire to do something radical about the ongoing crisis in housing supply.
With the need to get the private sector building more affordable homes, to streamline the planning process, and the challenges of introducing yet more regulations in the Private Rented Sector, including the controversial letting fees ban, Mr Raab will have his work cut out and his reputation will be on the line this time.
The conservatives know very well that if they want to get re-elected in 2022 they will have to do something drastic to assuage the anxieties of “Generation Rent”, to make housing more available and more affordable to a generation that has slowly been priced out of home ownership.
Raab, 43, a former a solicitor, will take over a renamed “Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government” within the DCLG working under the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid.
Richard Lambert, CEO at the National Landlords Association (NLA) had said about the change that the landlord body welcomes the rebranding:
“However, we hope that this works out to be more than just rebranding exercise, and that Mr Javid and his department will look to address the housing crisis by genuinely working across all tenures, not by fixating on building more homes.”