In the recent Sunak reshuffle, Rachael Maclean was ousted from Government, and her position, to be replaced by Lee Rowley. Some will remember that Rowley took the Housing reins in the interim Truss Government. It is still unclear if he will also be taking on the planning portfolio.
The MP for Northeast Derbyshire, Rowley was first elected in June 2017. He has spent time moving around the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities. After being moved along, Rowley was up until recently the minister for local government and building safety.
Unsurprisingly, commentators have been less than disappointed at the new appointment, Macleans nine-month stint and the 16th Housing Minister since 2010 as being unacceptable.
Some statements on Rowley’s appointment:
Melanie Leech, BPF chief executive, said: “The revolving door of housing ministers has turned once more. For a sector that thrives on certainty and wants to see a long-term plan for housing, such discontinuity in personnel is a significant concern and actively undermines investment and long-term commitment across the sector. The government is facing numerous challenges in reviving stalling housing supply, plus delivering the critical infrastructure required for future economic growth and carbon reduction. To meet those challenges we require political stability and continuity in decision-making. Minister Maclean leaves with our thanks, as someone who was hardworking, engaged, and who took a deep interest in the benefits of good housing.”
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of policy at the National Federation of Builders, said: “We are sad to lose another housing minister … because we were engaged in serious discussions regarding a medium sized site planning definition and strengthening the NPPF, as well as how we build in biodiversity.
“We look forward to meeting the new housing minister and DEFRA secretary to highlight why these policies are important as without them, the government will be responsible for a greater number of SME builders and regional contractors leaving the construction sector, which makes levelling up even more difficult and further harms UK productivity.”
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