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Agent calls for housing tsar as minister quits and Gove is sacked

Andrew's exit and Gove's sacking creates new uncertainty on housing reforms as there are barely any ministers left to run the department.

James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester, said: "The jury is certainly out on Stuart Andrew as a housing minister as he was only appointed to his position five months ago but at this point the position itself is about as useful as a chocolate teapot given the high turnover of those in the position. 

“Soon we will be able to calculate the tenure of housing ministers in mere minutes rather than weeks and whist I am mocking this shower of a government and its haphazard approach to governance, my serious concern is that housing once again is left to float around rudderless and with little vision or purpose. 

“It’s time for a housing tsar to be appointed for a five year term in order that a proper strategy can be put into place and enacted. 

“Otherwise, the supply of Britain’s new homes and landlord regulation will crumble and fail just as Boris Johnson himself has”.  

Research by Estate Agent Today shows that Andrew mentioned housing issues in parliament – either during debates or written responses – just 168 times during his tenure.

There is no official parliamentary record of him mentioned estate agents.

Since being appointed on 8 February, he has been quoted in 10 government announcements on the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities website.

This includes statements as recently as Tuesday on giving residents power over street name changes.

He was also quoted in releases on Help to Buy and self-build and gave a speech at a Chartered Institute of Housing conference last month but it is unclear if he has had any involvement with estate agents or industry trade bodies.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: "The market is a huge part of the economy and consistent leadership is vital.

“We need policies which allow for fluidity of movement, releasing more stock as well as empowering buyers at all stages of life, it is frustrating for relationship building to have changing ministers, however we work closely with civil servants who remain consistent and are ultimately the gate keepers in the machine."

It comes amid disquiet over Prime Minister Boris Johnson's handling of the appointment of former housing minister Christopher Pincher as deputy chief whip.

Several high-profile cabinet ministers have quit so far including Rishi Sunak as chancellor and Sajid Javid as health secretary.

Gove was absent from Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday afternoon and was reported earlier to have told Johnson to quit.

He was subsequently sacked last night as several Cabinet colleagues called for Johnson to stand down.

Johnson has remained defiant and, for now, is determined to carry on as Prime Minister.

Colin Brown, head of planning and development at Carter Jonas, added: "There is clearly a risk of severe inertia within those government departments that are seeing ministers resign and despite the PM’s spokesperson indicating confidence that all vacated posts will be filled promptly, this cannot be helping the legislative programme. 

"We have now had 15 housing ministers since 2005, with a new one nearly every year.  At a time when the government needs to take firm steps to keep housing delivery on the front foot this is distinctly unhelpful."

A new Housing Secretary and minister will now need to be appointed.


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