MPs face questions about post-Brexit housing

The chancellor will decide whether the government remains committed to social housing.

The new DCLG ministerial team faced MPs for the first time on Monday and faced tough questions about the future for post-Brexit housing.

New housing minister Gavin Barwell reaffirmed the government’s commitment to home ownership and funding for housing but few clues about future direction. Given the team have only been in their jobs two working days, new policy announcements were unlikely.

Kirsten Oswald of the SNP asked the minister to confirm where money would come from when EU regeneration money “inevitably dries up”.

Barwell said the government was committed to spending £8bn on building 400,000 and that would continue.

Chair of the DCLG committee Clive Betts asked if the government remained committed to building a million homes in this parliament which was also reaffirmed by Barwell.

There were pledges to monitor the impact of Right to Buy being abolished in Wales and Scotland from local government minister Marcus Jones.

New communities secretary Sajid Javid warned there would be no new funding for local authorities: “It is perfectly possible to fund services and at the same time to save and in fact enhance public services.”

He also questioned the quality of local councillors.

Conservative backbencher and member of the DCLG committee Kevin Hollinrake called for a change of approach given the new circumstances: “Now is the time to consider investing in social rented housing.”

Barwell said he was tempted but it was up to the chancellor. He accepted that he “makes his case very strongly”.

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