There has been general surprise at the appointment of legal expert and outspoken Brexiteer Dominic Raab to the post of housing minister.
The Construction Index, an online industry publication, announced yesterday that the last housing minister, Alok Sharma, had been shuffled sideways to the department of employment, and said: “All indications are that industry lobbyists should not bother to spend too much time trying to get to know his replacement. Experience shows that he is unlikely to be there long.”
That was a reference to the fact that Raab’s appointment makes him the 15th housing minister since 2000. Sharma lasted only seven months in the job.
Taking up the same theme, Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild tweeted: “Can anyone make the case that the housing minister is personally, individually a meaningful and influential post when, amongst the 39 ministers since 1945, there have been seven since 2010 and three in May’s 18 months as PM?”
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, tweeted that he was sorry to see Sharma leave so rapidly, but welcomed Raab - although with a rider saying: “Please PM, give him enough time to do the job properly.”
A more establishment welcome came from the NAEA and ARLA with a statement from chief executives Mark Hayward and David Cox saying: “We would like to congratulate Dominic Raab on his appointment to Minister of State for Housing. We have been working closely with Alok Sharma in this role previously, alongside Sajid Javid as Communities Secretary, to make suggestions on plans to ultimately regulate the sector and make the process of buying, selling, renting or leasing a property better for consumers. If housing is genuinely a priority for the Government, then continuity and consistency with the new Housing Minister and Sajid Javid is absolutely key, and we look forward to working with them both over the coming months.”
The RICS tweeted: “Congratulations to Dominic Raab on your appointment as Housing Minister. We look forward to working with you across the private rental sector, housing supply and planning reform - let’s develop the bold approach we need together.”