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Meet the new Housing Secretary who opposes 'toxic building targets'

New Housing Secretary Simon Clarke may be an unknown entity to many agents but he has a track record of supporting the property market and previously described housebuilding targets as a “toxic distraction.”

Clarke - previously Chief Secretary to the Treasury - was confirmed as the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the Cabinet of new Prime Minister Liz Truss last night.

He hasn’t said anything about estate agency in Parliament but did stand up for the government's Stamp Duty holiday during the pandemic.


Responding to a query about whether the tax break helped “the poorest, the richest, or a combination of the richest and the housebuilders’ profits” from the Scottish National Party’s Alan Brown in Parliament last year, Clarke said: “The hon. gentleman asks us to apologise for keeping the housing market moving in the teeth of the pandemic and I make absolutely no apology for that.”

He added: “It was absolutely the right thing to do to make sure we did not see a collapse of that market.”

More recently, Clarke has backed Truss in opposing top-down housebuilding targets.

A Twitter post during the Conservative Party leadership contest said: “Building more good homes is a top priority. Creating rational incentives and reassurances for communities to embrace them is vital. 

“The cult of top-down targets, however, has become a toxic distraction and Liz Truss is right to say she would scrap them.”

He still appears committed to building new homes though and has previously tweeted: “If we do not build the homes we need, where we need them, it will be a disaster for  the Conservatives.

“But much, much more importantly, it will be a disaster for generations of people who will not be able to own a good home.

“Any such development needs to be managed carefully, have the right infrastructure and enshrine high standards of design in keeping with the surrounding community. But we have to take on the curse of nimbyism and have a grown up conversation.”

Commenting on his new role last night, Clarke said: “It’s a huge honour to be appointed Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

"Delivering on levelling up for communities in all parts of our country, unlocking the homes we need and supporting the economic growth that is so central to Liz Truss' government is our mission - will give it my all.

“This is a department that I know really well, and which I am so looking forward to returning to - the commitment and expertise of officials there on themes as diverse as homelessness, building safety and devolution is second to none.”

The appointment may also create a search engine optimisation nightmare for London-based lettings agent Simon Clarke, which has nothing to do with the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP.

The brand currently appears on the first page of Google when you search for "Simon Clarke" but most of the results now refer to the new Housing Secretary.

  • Matt Faizey


    Gone in six months? Nine? Do we think this one will last 18?


    Who cares
    Just worry about your own business


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