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Rees-Mogg set for housing brief in a Truss Cabinet - reports

Jacob Rees-Mogg is reportedly being lined up as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should Liz Truss win the Conservative Party leadership race and become Prime Minister.

Reports in The Times suggest he will form part of a Truss Cabinet as Levelling Up Secretary, which traditionally includes the housing brief.

The MP for North East Somerset doesn’t have a long track record of speaking on housing issues and he mainly speaks and votes in line with government policy.


However, a search of Hansard records through TheyWorkForYou, shows he is against higher stamp duty rates and has opposed further landlord and agency regulation.

Speaking during a 2012 debate about raising the stamp duty rate on £2m sales from 5% to 7%, he cautioned the government “that there will come a point at which, if we keep on attacking the golden goose, it will stop laying eggs.”

This was before George Osborne’s overhaul of how stamp duty is charged in 2014.

Rees-Mogg said: “We have found stamp duty to be an easy way of raising tax. It was a very good way to get it when the economy was booming. The rates would go up and there was little effect in a rising market.

“I am not convinced that that is the situation we are now in. The increase will probably be a disincentive to moving house. It will have an effect on planning in London, as people seek to build upwards and downwards, and on neighbourhoods.

“We want a very liquid, high-turnover property market, with as few imposts on it as possible, which is one of the advantages that the UK housing market has had over continental housing markets. That contributes to the mobility of labour. The provision is probably not a good way to raise increased tax.”

Rees-Mogg also defended landlords and agents during a debate in 2013 on the Private Landlords and Letting and Managing Agents (Regulation) Bill.

He said: “I am nervous about the proposal to regulate private sector letting agents. 

“It seems to me that there are so many of them that there is genuine and deep competition, and competition is a much better curer of ills than state regulation. 

“A lot of this is informal. Even in this House, every so often an e-mail comes around saying, ‘I have a property to let,’ or ‘A friend of mine has a property to let. Are you interested? It’s in the Division bell area.’”

“Do we really want to turn someone harmlessly working in a parliamentary office into a criminal because they have not registered as a letting agent for the purpose of sending one e-mail? Is that the degree of law that we wish to implement when there is already a perfectly workable system, with kitemarks, that is competitive and allows for up to 17,000 letting agents in the country at large?”

This Bill never made it through Parliament although there are similar aspects in the current Renters Reform Bill.

The government has also since backed the Regulation of Property Agents rules, which could introduce new minimum standards and qualifications in the sector.

  • Russell Quirk

    An actual free market, small state conservative in the housing role?
    Yes please.

    Algarve  Investor

    That might be true if he was in any way competent or effective, but the Victorian parody's recent roles suggest otherwise. Brexit opportunities minister - that's a laugh! He's now admitted that opportunities from Brexit have been very limited. Then there was him going around leaving passive aggressive emails on the desks of civil servants demanding they go back to work, despite no evidence that he himself actually does anything of note each day. Just y'day, he was backing Truss's claim that UK workers need to show more graft - pretty tone-deaf at this time.

    The only person I can think of who would be worse is another of Boris's cheerleaders, Nadine Dorries.

    At least Gove, for all his many flaws, had experience and conviction and a reputation for reforming. Mogg wouldn't have the first clue about housing in the real world.

  • Algarve  Investor

    They're taking the mickey now, aren't they? Man of the people JRM as Housing Secretary.

  • icon

    This should be great news. JRM is known to be hugely anti-S24 and has written to me and others supporting our position against it. He is also dubious on licensing and EPC proposals. Excellent! If he should become housing minister I would hope for huge, sensible steps forward in the PRS. Of course if he gets the job and DOESN’T reverse S24 then we’re totally bggered, but if anyone’s going to change it, he will.


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