Prime Minister Theresa May has overhauled her cabinet with an array of sackings and promotions, making Sajid Javid the UK’s new housing secretary.
The reshuffle saw Sajid Javid’s department renamed the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with the addition of ‘Housing’ making clear May’s plans to keep the issue at the top of the government’s agenda.
The Prime Minister has previously stated it is her “personal mission” to tackle the housing shortage in the UK, with the Autumn Budget last year setting out a number of measures that would be taken to deal with the problem.
Javid said: “The name change for the department reflects this government’s renewed focus to deliver more homes and build strong communities across England.”
Delighted to serve as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government – determined to help build the homes our great country needs, stronger communities & champion local councils #CabinetReshuffle
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) January 8, 2018
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, also supported the changes made yesterday. He said: “The inclusion of the word ‘housing’ sends a clear signal as to the importance the government places on housing policy by the renaming of the department and the secretary of state’s title.”
What’s in a name?
However, others have commented that changing the job title and department name will only be effective if it is followed up by evidence that the measures are working. The department has actually been responsible for housing for many years, with Sajid Javid playing a key role in the issue already.
David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “Redefining Sajid Javid’s role to clearly emphasise housing is a welcome demonstration of the prime minister’s commitment to fixing the UK’s broken housing market.
“But actions speak louder than words. If we are to meet the government’s ambition of building 300,000 homes a year, every year, then we need a long-term supply of affordable land. The government must ensure public land is used for housing and that private land is bought where it is needed to create new communities.”
Dominic Raab has also been appointed as the new housing minister, replacing Alok Sharma, who had only held the position for six months.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) January 9, 2018