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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Housing Secretary set for first committee grilling by MPs

Simon Clarke is set for his first grilling by MPs as Levelling Up and Housing Secretary.

Clarke will be questioned by the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee on Monday 24 October.

The cross-party group of MPs said in a statement that it is likely to ask the new Secretary of State questions on a range of topics across the portfolio, including priorities for his department and his views on potential savings that can be made.

Subjects will include proposals for low-tax investment zones as well as planning and rental reform that could help or hinder the housing market.

Clarke took questions in the House of Commons for the first time yesterday, in which he confirmed that rental reform will be introduced in this Parliament and said that levelling up projects may need to be 'resized' for inflation. 

This came amid news that Clarke would be one of several high-profile Conservative MPs to lose their seats if a general election was held soon.

Clive Betts, chairman of LUHC Committee, said of next week's meeting: “There are a series of critical issues which the Committee wants to raise with the new Secretary of State. We look forward to questioning Simon Clarke on a range of pressing matters including planning reform and the building of new housing, building safety, and on reform of the private rented sector.

“We will be also keen to question the Secretary of State on the impact of inflation and energy costs on local government, the funding required to ‘fix’ adult social care, and the operation of the Government’s support schemes for Ukraine refugees.”

Clarke replaced Greg Clark last month, who was in the role of Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for just eight weeks.

Clark had taken the position following Michael Gove’s sacking by Boris Johnson.

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