James Brokenshire

Industry reacts to new housing secretary

Theresa May has appointed James Brokenshire (pictured above) as the new secretary of state for housing, communities and local government (MHCLG).


Mr Brokenshire has replaced Sajid Javid, who has been named as the new home secretary.

Mr Brokenshire was previously secretary of state for Northern Ireland from 14th July 2016 to 8th January 2018.

The appointment comes at a “crucial time for the sector”, according to Brian Berry, chief executive at the Federation of Master Builders.

“We hope that Brokenshire will build on Javid’s good work, both in terms of raising the profile of housing as an issue at cabinet level and implementing some sound policies aimed at tackling the housing shortage,” said Brian.

“In particular, we are keen to work with the new secretary of state to unleash the capacity of small local housebuilders.

“Last year’s housing white paper and the November Budget statement that followed have given us a blueprint for change, but now we need to get on and do it.

“We stand ready to help Brokenshire deliver the 300,000 new homes per year needed in England alone.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive at the British Property Federation, added: “While it is disappointing to lose Sajid Javid from housing, we welcome James Brokenshire and look forward to working with him to drive forward the government’s multi-tenure approach to new housing delivery and the policy changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.

“These changes underpin the government’s agenda on so many levels – providing the right homes in the right places will increase UK productivity, economic growth and social wellbeing in the long term.”

Michael Dean, principal at Avamore Capital, said: “The government can claim to take housing seriously, yet its actions do not seem to back that up when it comes to senior appointments.

“There’s no accountability when targets are missed because whoever was responsible for those targets would have moved into another position in government."

Charles McDowell, commercial director of mortgages at Aldermore, said that it welcomed Mr Brokenshire to his new position.

“It is a hugely important job and Sajid Javid has made good strides in tackling some of the big issues impacting the housing market and increasing its profile.

“We would urge the new secretary of state to continue the work of his predecessor.

“Housing is an important issue, if not one of the most important issues facing our country.”

Charles continued: “This is a problem that has been created over the long term by constantly applying short-term sticking plasters and announcing yet more consultations.

“It can only be solved with long-term strategic thinking.

“We have been clear that the government must prioritise the building of homes in the right places with infrastructure and facilities in order that we have the houses that are desperately needed.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive at the National Federation of Builders, said that SMEs had a crucial role in building communities and place-making across all regions of the UK.

“SMEs have a unique understanding of their local communities and smaller [developments] face less opposition.

Carillion has, hopefully, taught us not to put too much faith in the market’s larger players delivering on public aspirations.

“A more diverse market that encourages SME participation is key to fixing the housing crisis.”

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