Michael Gove becomes new housing secretary: property industry responds



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Robert Jenrick has been removed as secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, following Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Jenrick has been replaced by Michael Gove.

Commenting on his dismissal on Twitter, Jenrick said: “It’s been a huge privilege to serve as secretary of state. 

“Thank you to everyone at the department for their hard work, dedication and friendship. I’m deeply proud of all we achieved.

“I will continue to support the prime minister and the government in every way I can.”

Property industry reacts to Jenrick’s departure 

James Forrester, managing director at Barrows and Forrester, said: “The government housing carousel continues to turn as yet another one bites the dust — and it remains to be seen if there will be further casualties further down the ranks. 

“Michael Gove is known as a Whitehall big hitter with a reputation for rocking the boat, so we may well see some changes; however, the reality is probably more of the same tired, recycled rhetoric around housing policy.”

James expects to see more initiatives focused on fuelling buyer demand to keep house prices buoyant, but does not believe the sector will see much action to address the need for more housing.

“In recent times, those charged with addressing the current housing crisis have lasted less time in their post than it takes to sell a house. 

“No wonder the sector has been riddled with scandal and an inability to reach housing targets.”

Sam Le Pard, co-founder of LEXI Finance, commented: "At a time when we still face a shortage of housing, material price inflation and supply chain issues, the new housing secretary will need to rapidly get to grips with their brief if they are to enable SME developers to play a key role in tackling the housing crisis. 

“SMEs are vital to unlocking smaller tracts of land and regeneration sites across the country and will be essential if the government is to achieve its levelling up agenda. 

“Gove's previous experience as shadow housing minister is a positive sign, but the government must demonstrate its commitment to meeting the country's housing needs."

Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture, added: “The government needs stability and leadership if it is to bring forward policies that clarify questions over design, quality and delivery methods concerning the homes we build.

"Understanding and addressing the issues in the market takes time and effort, and while another secretary gets to grips with this complex role, the housing and high-street crises will continue to unfold."

James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association, said that the Covid crisis had shown what can be achieved when government empowers councils to innovate and create new services locally. 

“We look forward to working with Michael Gove as our new secretary of state at MHCLG to build on this and ensure councils are backed with the resources and freedoms they need to build back local from the pandemic, level up communities, and deliver more for our residents and communities.”

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