Industry gives a mixed response to appointment of new Housing Minister

After the announcement of Stuart Andrew as the new Housing Minister following Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, industry leaders have been quick to comment.

While there have been mixed opinions, the reaction was largely welcoming, with many commenters suggesting Andrew, who replaces Christopher Pincher, faced a tough task.

Ben Woolman, director at developer Woolbro Group, commented:

“Stuart Andrew is now faced with the task of delivering on what his predecessors have failed to achieve, that being to turn ‘Generation Rent’ into ‘Generation Buy’.

“Britain has, quite simply, failed to build enough houses to meet the demand for many years now, meaning many young people today will likely never own their homes unless, of course, they can borrow significant amounts from the bank of mum and dad.

“By spending millions of pounds to regenerate run-down city centres as outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper, Michael Gove is mistaken by thinking that simply throwing money at the housing affordability crisis will make it go away.

“So, if Mr Andrew is serious about delivering the new homes that Britain needs, he must urgently set out to reform the UK’s antiquated planning system, which represents the main obstacle to building much-needed new homes in this country.”

The Royal Town Planning Institute welcomed the appointment.

Victoria Hills, chief Executive of RTPI, said:

“We will strive to work with Mr Andrew as we have with Mr Pincher to utilise the full power of the planning system to support policy goals. Together, the Government and planners can work collaboratively for people, the economy, and society.”

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) also welcomed the new Housing Minister.

Eddie Tuttle, director of policy, external affairs and research at CIOB, said:

“The industry saw a promising start to the year from the Government with the publishing of the levelling-up strategy, as well as further progress being made on the Building Safety Bill through its current Parliamentary scrutiny. We look forward to working with the Government to address the housing crisis, both in terms of affordability and quality as well as a continued focus on building safety, planning improvements and decarbonising the UK’s homes.”

Paul Smith, MD of The Strategic Land Group, questioned some of the new Minister’s previous positions on housing, including protecting the green belt:

“Stuart Andrew is the 18th Housing Minister since 2001 – and not the first person appointed to the role with a patchy record on housing issues. The positions he has adopted – including opposing green belt release and stronger rights for renters – are populist opinions that are frequently rooted in a superficial understanding of the issue. Given time to get to grips with his new role, the industry will be hoping to see the emergence of a more considered, evidenced position. However, the appointment does demonstrate the need for continuity in the role – the revolving door of Ministers does little to bolster the industry’s confidence in the commitment of the government to deliver the policy changes needed to tackle the housing crisis.”