New DLUHC Ministerial Team

The new ministerial team at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and communities (DLUHC) is led by new Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Simon Clarke MP. The Minister for Local Government and Building Safety is Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Housing is Lee Rowley MP, the Minister for Levelling Up is Dehenna Davidson MP, the Minister for Housing and Communities is The Rt Hon Andrew Stephenson MP, and the Minister for Communities is Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE. The two key ministers are Simon Clarke and Lee Rowley:

Simon Clarke, New Secertary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Simon Clarke replaced Greg Clark, who took the job temporarily after Michael Gove was sacked by Boris Johnson. Clarke was an early supporter of Liz Truss and has been duly rewarded.

Clarke is 37 years old and was elected in 2017 in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, winning the seat from Labour. Clarke was given a role in Johnson’s government in 2019, as junior minister in the treasury. He was then made minister for regional growth and local government in a reshuffle in February 2020, though he resigned for personal reasons 7 months later. Subsequently, Clarke became the youngest cabinet minister in government after he was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury in a reshuffle in September 2021.

He has been a vocal supporter of policies that would drive home building, particularly in the North. Clarke has also been consistent in his support for Net Zero policies and has been vocal in speaking out against those from within his own party who have opposed them. He may make some statement regarding ongoing legislation in particular the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which is currently in committee stage in the House of Commons, but as of now it should be assumed that the bill will continue its progress through Parliament.

Lee Rowley MP, New Housing Minister

Lee Rowley is the 13th housing minister in 12 years. He was first elected to Northeast Derbyshire in 2017, having previously worked in finance and consultancy roles, and having been a councillor in Westminster for eight years, stepping down in 2014. Under Johnson he was a junior Minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with his brief included construction. He was among the ministers who resigned in July, eventually forcing Johnson out of Number 10.

He has previously engaged with housing and planning policy, having been a part of the Centre for Social Justice’s (CSJ) working group that published a report on housing and poverty in 2008. The report recommended that councils and housing associations should have more freedom when determining what to do with their housing stock. Specifically, CSJ recommended that assured shorthold tenancies should be introduced to make management of housing stock more effective.

Rowley has always been a staunch proponent of home ownership and was a supporter of the mooted policy of Right to Buy from housing associations that Johnson put forward towards the end of his premiership. This could signal a return to this policy under Truss.

Last year he wrote to then housing minister Robert Jenrick, asking him to weigh in on a battle over a green belt development in his constituency. He asked the then minister to prevent a building going ahead. He has also expressed the view that the planning system is “broken in places” during a Westminster Hall debate in December 2020. He suggested a replacement the Section 106 system “could be good in principle”.