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James Brokenshire named housing secretary in cabinet reshuffle

James brokenshire
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James Brokenshire has replaced Sajid Javid as housing secretary in a cabinet reshuffle sparked by the scandal over the treatment of Windrush-generation immigrants

The prime minister confirmed this morning (30 April) that Javid has been promoted to home secretary after Amber Rudd quit the post after conceding she had ‘inadvertently misled’ MPs over what she knew about deportation targets.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Brokenshire will now replace Javid at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), formerly the DCLG. He becomes the fourth secretary of state responsible for housing in the last three years, following on from Javid, Greg Clark and Eric Pickles.

Following the announcement, Brokenshire tweeted that he was ‘honoured’, adding: ‘Looking forward to taking the government’s agenda forward, especially on building the homes our country needs.’

The MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup resigned from his government role in January to receive treatment to remove a tumour on his lung. The operation was successful and he has been recovering well.

British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech welcomed Brokenshire’s appointment. 

‘While it is disappointing to lose Sajid Javid from housing, we welcome James Brokenshire and look forward to working with him to drive forward the government’s multi-tenure approach to new housing delivery and the policy changes to the National Planning Policy Framework,’ she said.

But Assael Architecture director Russell Pedley expressed disappointment at yet another change at the ministry. ‘The point of changing the DCLG to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was to highlight the major issues we have within the housing market at the moment,’ he said. ‘However, the government’s actions here show that, once again, other departments take a priority over housing.

‘If we are serious about fixing the broken housing market, delivering affordable homes at high volume and transforming the outdated delivery model, then we need consistent leadership at the top.’ 

The reshuffle also sees international development secretary Penny Mordaunt take on the additional role of minister for equalities, which Rudd had also held until today. 

Speaking at a government conference last week with housing minister Dominic Raab, Javid championed the role of good design in fixing the UK’s broken housing market.

Comment

Ben Derbyshire, president of the RIBA

’The RIBA welcomes James Brokenshire MP as the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In recent months the ministry has increased its focus on design and build quality and we hope this agenda will continue to be prioritised by Mr Brokenshire.

’Only last week, MHCLG ministers confirmed, at their Housing Quality Conference, that driving up standards in design and build quality is key to tackling the housing crisis and meeting supply targets. We stand ready to support this effort at RIBA. We also need to see greater investment in social housing, more radical moves to provide councils greater powers to build, and fresh thinking on how infrastructure can be used to create better communities.

’We also look forward to working with Sajid Javid MP as the new Home Secretary. The RIBA’s 2018 Brexit survey showed that building confidence in the post-Brexit immigration system is a top concern for many architects, particularly talented EU citizens who currently run and work in practices across the UK. We will continue to make the case for a flexible, diverse architecture sector to the Home Office, including reforms to the visa system and ensuring that the mutual recognition of architects’ professional qualifications with the EU is retained post-Brexit.’

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