A new report has claimed that there is tension between housing secretary Robert Jenrick and housing minister Esther McVey over the use of government grant.
The row, which has been penned as a ‘class war’, emphasises Jenrick’s focus on first-time buyers, while McVey – described as “blue collar”– wants to spend the cash on council housing, particularly for new Conservative voters who switched from Labour in the last election.
The report quotes a Whitehall source as saying: “It’s a difficult dynamic. Jenrick wants to help more people to buy their own homes, he wants the government to focus on owner-occupation.
“But Esther says we should be building more council and social housing. There’s no love lost there.”
The Tory manifesto outlines a promise to both increase home ownership and the supply of social housing and affordable homes.
However, as recently reported by 24housing, communities could have lost out on more than 13,500 ‘desperately needed’ affordable homes in the past four years as a result of rules allowing offices to be converted into housing without planning permission.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has since urged government to work with councils to tackle the housing shortage and ensure new housing meets the needs of communities.
The two ministers first worked together in 2015 when McVey was Jenrick’s boss in the Department for Work and Pensions.
A source close to Jenrick denied any differences between the pair, saying they were “on the same page”.
They added: “Rob and Esther have a good relationship. Rob has been clear he is very focused on home ownership, and I think that’s the same for Esther.”