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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Housing minister Esther McVey sacked by Boris Johnson

Esther McVey has been sacked as housing minister; she was the ninth housing minister in as many years.

Her successor is the little known Tamworth MP Chris Pincher.

A statement from McVey, issued just after her dismissal, says: "I'm very sorry to be relieved of my duties as housing minister. I wish my successor the very best and every success. I'm very grateful to the Prime Minister for having given me the opportunity to serve in his government and he will continue to have my support from the back benches."

McVey, 52, was a well-known figure in Conservative politics, having held a number of junior positions in the Cameron Coalition administration until entering the Cabinet in 2018, before resigning over Brexit a few months later. 

McVey was appointed to her position soon after Boris Johnson became PM in the summer, but earlier this month briefings from government sources made clear that she was under threat.

Whoever takes over from McVey will be charged with steering through the Renters' Reform Bill - announced in December’s Queen’s Speech but so far without any timetable for being introduced as a law. 

The Bill will contain:

- abolishing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, a measure the government describes as “improving security for tenants in the rental sector and empowering them to challenge poor property standards without fear of being evicted as a result”; 

- strengthening the rights of landlords who need to gain possession of their property through the courts, via a reformed section 8 and an improved court process;

- introducing a new lifetime deposit to ease the burden when tenants choose to move.

The new minister will also have to decide what to do about the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents’ working group, which has recommended mandatory qualifications for agents. Again, there is no timetable for the implementation of these recommendations, although the working group chair - Lord Best - insists they are likely to come into force within about two years.

Change at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government is not restricted to politicians - a senior civil servant has moved too. 

Dame Melanie Dawes, the most senior woman in the civil service, has stepped down as permanent secretary at the MHCLG, a post she has held since 2015. She is moving to a key role at broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

Dawes presided at the MHCLG at a time when political interest in buy to let, first time buyers and estate and letting agency transparency reached fever pitch at times.

  • jeremy clarke

    Time for Kevin Hollirake?

    Algarve  Investor

    Time for someone to be in place for more than 9 months at a time. That's now 10 housing ministers in 10 years. It's a complete joke and shows a complete lack of respect for what is a very important position.

    While not a Cabinet member, McVey did attend Cabinet, which was a step forward - but now this is another backwards step from the government.

    I have no time for McVey whatsoever, but even I'll admit she was doing a decent enough job in driving various reforms forward, and took her duties far more seriously than Malthouse (who barely showed up and left it all to Heather Wheeler) or Raab (who saw the position as a platform to spout off about Brexit and put himself in the shop window for Brexit secretary).

    What is the point of the position being such a revolving door? It's totally self-defeating as the new person has to learn their new brief and get to grips with the industry they are working in, which in some cases proves beyond ministers.

    An interesting parallel was made with Europe earlier today - where ministers generally stay in post for longer. In Britain, the turnover is much higher and people often move on after less than a year, causing disruption and dithering.

    If the government was actually serious about housing, they wouldn't have taken such a step, which just makes a mockery of a position that has already become a joke.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    Housing is far and away the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE for any elector.
    Everything that anyone does in the economy is principally designed to resolve accommodation circumstances.
    Housing should merit a Cabinet position.
    It should be the no 1 priority for the Govt.
    When an electorate is housed lots of other things feed off that to produce economic activity.
    If you are homeless then pretty much every avenue to economic activity is closed off to you.
    If you can't access affordable accommodation then attempting economic activity is pretty much impossible.
    Affordable housing is an economic facilitator something the Tories just DON'T seem to understand.
    If they did they wouldn't attack the mortgaged sole trader LL who currently provides about 25% of the PRS.
    That 25% needs the mortgaged sole trader LL as no way will BTR providers be able to supply that 25% of the market anytime soon.
    Post-war Govts recognised the importance of housing and both political parties competed with eachother to produce housing for the masses.
    Electorally it was very advantageous to be seen to producing housing.
    We need a return to those days of housing being the most important thing bar security that the Govt needs to facilitate by whatever means.

    Mobilising the private capital of many people to facilitate mass housing for those unable to achieve this themselves you would have thought would be welcomed by Govt.
    After all it means Govt doesn't have to provide the private capital to house those millions.
    Yet despite the logic of these things Govt seems determined to destroy a LL demographic that has done so much to address the housing problems in the UK.
    Much of these problems have been caused by bonkers Govt policies.
    It seems this Govt intends to carry on being bonkers over housing policies.
    That does no good for the overall economy at all.

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