What's in a title? New housing minister appointed

 “What's in a title?” This was Kris Hopkins’ response to the CIH on Twitter when asked about his promotion to housing minister this week. Despite being broadly welcomed by the industry, the revelation that the post of housing minister has been downgraded to a more junior ministerial position did cause some anxiety. 

Predecessor Mark Prisk was Minister of State for Housing, but Kris Hopkins has taken over his brief as a ‘parliamentary under secretary of state’, the bottom rung of the ministerial ladder. 

Several industry organisations have expressed concern, including the National Housing Federation who said they were "surprised and disappointed" at the demotion. 

The Chartered Institute for Housing said “We welcome Kris Hopkins to his new post and look forward to working with him to help come up with solutions to our national housing crisis. However, we are very concerned that the housing portfolio appears to have been demoted to a more junior ministerial post.”

Downing Street denied that the downgrade of housing minister means a downgrade in the importance of housing and Mr Hopkins said “it certainly doesn’t limit my commitment to the delivery of homes”.

The Commons CLG Select Committee published an inquiry into the private rented sector in July making recommendations to the government for tighter regulation and accreditation for letting agents, a shift towards longer tenancies, and more transparent fees. All the major industry organisations including ARLA, RICS, and RLA gave evidence to the inquiry and a response from the government is expected this Autumn – we look forward to hearing the new minister’s stance.

Kris Hopkins' official title is now Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and with a portfolio covering:

•  housing

•  local growth, cities and regeneration

•  Thames Gateway

•  troubled families (supporting the Secretary of State)

•  planning policy and casework in relation to wind farms

You can find out more about him here at GOV.UK

Meanwhile in the opposition reshuffle, Labour MP Emma Reynolds has been promoted to shadow minister for housing, replacing Jack Dromey. The post has also been given a promotion - shadow minister for housing has been upgraded and now enjoys a seat in the shadow cabinet.





Posted by Chris Kendall on 9 October 2013

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