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Housing 'promoted' to full Cabinet status in cosmetic reshuffle

The Department of Communities and Local Government has been rebadged as the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government in what would appear to be a  cosmetic-only change announced by Downing Street.

Sajiv Javid, the old secretary of state, remains in the same post with the new title. 

Whitehall-watchers says the change of title and greater emphasis on housing reflects Prime Minister Theresa May’s increased interest in the subject. 

She has claimed that it is her “personal mission” to fix the housing crisis while her Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, effectively scrapped stamp duty for first time buyers in the Budget towards the end of last year. 

There is no news yet on what this rebranding means for existing housing minister Alok Sharma.

He was the 15th housing minister since 1997 and the sixth to take the role since the Conservatives came to power in 2010; junior posts such as his are expected to be finalised tomorrow.

However one of his former colleagues at the DCLG - Marcus Jones, the local government minister on the same rank as Sharma - has already been moved to take up a role at Conservative Party HQ.

Javid and Sharma are part-way through a number of policy initiatives, announced but not implemented:  these include the letting agency fees ban, plus some 29 key proposals in last February’s Housing White Paper concentrating on making more land available for housing, continuing to protect the Green Belt and backing small and medium-sized housebuilders.

Meanwhile another former housing minister, Brandon Lewis, has become the Conservative Party chairman.

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