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Another new housing minister – who is Esther McVey?

  1. 29 July 2019
  2. By Andi Forsythe

With the role becoming something of a poisoned chalice, this will be the 9th housing minister since 2010. In Boris Johnson’s recent cabinet reshuffle, Esther McVey was appointed housing minister. So what will she bring to the role?

Image by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Whilst housing is arguably one of the biggest concerns in our country, the housing minister position has always been complicated. With a revolving door of new ministers, some lasting less than a year, the position has been considered a step up towards bigger positions in government, with Dominic Raab moving on to Brexit Secretary and more recently Foreign Secretary.

Kit Malthouse, the Minister for Housing up until now, had been in the role for a year. During this time his focus was on dealing with the leasehold scandal, which has resulted in reform and clarity in leasehold law. Malthouse has now moved on to be the Minister of State for the Home Office, and has been replaced by Esther McVey.

McVey comes from her previous role as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, where she achieved a certain notoriety with some of her statements about foodbanks and the impact of Universal Credit hold ups on those dependent on benefits. She resigned from her role 10 months ago in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

It’s hard to tell where McVey’s priorities will fall within housing – she voted multiple times for the bedroom tax and was against restrictions on estate agent letting fees.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary has also changed, with Robert Jenrick replacing James Brokenshire. Whilst Jenrick hasn’t had much input on housing matters in the past, with his previous role in the Treasury overseeing transport and infrastructure plans in the ‘Oxford-Cambridge Arc’, he did say at last year’s Conservative Party Conference that if the party does not revive home ownership in the UK, they ‘will lose the next election and we’ll deserve to lose it.’

We look forward to hearing more about what both the Housing Secretary and Minister plan to make priorities in the coming months, with suggestions that new PM Boris Johnson may lean towards plans for ‘part-rent, part-buy’ and the shifting of Stamp Duty to seller rather than buyer.

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