Johnson names Chris Pincher new housing minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has named Chris Pincher the next housing minister, replacing Esther McVey.

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Chris Pincher is the latest name to take on the housing brief.

He becomes the tenth housing minister in the last ten years and the fourth in the last three years.

However, it was also announced that he will not be receiving the same cabinet privileges as his predecessor, as the Housing Minister post has been taken off the Cabinet attendee list.

He is the MP for Tamworth and has been since 2010. He was previously Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.

His voting record in the Commons reads much like his formers, constantly voting against raising benefits and for policies such as the Bedroom Tax.

On housing, he voted for ending lifetime tenancies and for charging market rents to high earning council tenants.

On his appointment, Pincher said: “Delighted to be appointed as the Minister of State for Housing – though sad to be leaving a great team at Foreign Office. This Government will deliver on our commitment to build the housing that people need. Looking forward to getting stuck in alongside Robert Jenrick.”

Earlier today, Jenrick was confirmed as staying on as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, despite national TV performances.

Last month, the Institute for Government (IfG) said the number of different housing ministers since 1997 left the UK “often lacking” a department strong enough to articulate a coherent housing policy – with housing is more often a stepping-stone portfolio to promotion.

IfG specifically cited housing as an example cited in its report on the frequency government reshuffles.

While recent governments have said addressing the housing crisis is a priority, the average minister of state for housing since 1997 has stayed in post just 14 months.

McVey lasted seven months to see the sector facing its tenth minister in ten years: the longest in post staying just over two years.

Three ministers lasted nine months or fewer.

It wasn’t long before the sector started to react to the news…

Ali Akbor, Chief Executive, Unity Homes: “Esther McVey’s appointment was a strange decision, and seemed more like a reward for backing Boris Johnson in the Conservative leadership contest after she was eliminated in the first round. 

“As a former Deputy Chief Whip and Foreign Office Minister, Christopher Pincher knows how Government works and should be well-equipped to fight for the resources we need to tackle the national housing crisis. 

“I hope the Prime Minister allows him to get on with the job. 

“Ten Housing Ministers in ten years goes some way to explaining why the problems we face in housing continue to rumble on.  It is surely time for continuity in that role. 

“The newly-elected Government has placed home ownership much higher on its priority list than increasing the number of affordable properties developed by housing associations.

“I hope that Mr Pincher will quickly understand the role we can play to build more homes, improve people’s lives and enable local communities to become more sustainable.”

Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson: “UK housing is in crisis. Levels of homelessness are skyrocketing, there is a complete lack of affordable housing, and the tragedy of Grenfell remains at the forefront of people’s minds.

“The revolving door at the Ministry of Housing means Tory Ministers have repeatedly failed to get a grip on these issues. The new Housing Minister must act urgently to ensure adequate safe and secure accommodation is made available right across the country.

“The Liberal Democrats want to see an ambitious programme to build social housing at far greater scale. Those who rent also need greater support: the new Minister must bring forward the Renters Reform Bill immediately in order to strengthen the rights of the millions of people in rented accommodation across the UK.”

Cllr David Williams, chairman of the County Councils Network and leader of Hertfordshire County Council: “We welcome the appointment of Christopher Pincher as the new housing minister. With a majority government now in place, the minister has the chance to set out a long-term vision for planning and housing, whilst having the capacity to implement tangible reform.

“The government should seek to move away from simply planning by numbers; instead focusing on homes of all tenures, in the right places matched with the right infrastructure.

“As a county MP, Christopher will be aware of the particular issues in the shire counties: they contain the least affordable housing outside of London and face significant gaps in funding for the infrastructure to compliment new development.

“Therefore, the minister should consider the recent Building Better, Building Beautiful commission’s recommendation that strategic planning be introduced in county areas, giving the county council a formal role and helping to link infrastructure and housing.

“This will allow us to target the right homes for the right areas, backed with the necessary infrastructure to create sustainable communities.”

ARCO, the body representing providers of housing with care for older people, has welcomed Christopher Pincher as Housing Minister and Helen Whately as Care Minister and called on them not to miss out on the golden opportunity which the sector offers both departments if action is taken now.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO said: “We are delighted to welcome Christopher Pincher and Helen Whately to their roles and wish them every success.

“One of the biggest opportunities open to both Ministers is to work with our sector and consumer champions to ensure that as Retirement Communities develop we can play the biggest possible role in housing and social care.

“If our Ministers are up to the challenge they can unleash a revolution in provision which will benefit hundreds of thousands of people.

“Our sector stands ready to work with them to achieve this. Let’s not let this opportunity go to waste.”

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