Sajid Javid has kept his job as head of Communities and Local Government and today seen housing added to his ministerial title – but what does this actually mean?
Number 10 has announced the minister is now Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG).
Housing already fell under the department’s remit, but reshuffle rumours predicted the position of housing minister would be promoted to a full cabinet post.
CLG has seen its social care remit shifted to the Department of Health, potentially freeing up time and resources for the Cabinet Secretary to lift housing’s priority, with Javid’s role being the first Cabinet job since Heath’s government to include housing in title.
David Gauke has been moved from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Ministry of Justice as part of Theresa May’s 2018 reshuffle, with Esther McVey now becoming Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Junior ministerial posts to be confirmed tomorrow, as we await to see if we get yet another housing minister, or if Alok Sharma will continue in post.
So, is this more window-dressing or a signal of intent?
The RLA has long campaigned for housing to be higher on the government’s list of priorities, and on the face of it the announcement suggests the lobbying has worked.
Housing policy has been in a mess for some time. Recently we have seen the government carry out a mishmash of consultations lacking any sort of joined up strategy, and adopting a piecemeal approach to regulation that helps no-one.
Spring’s long-awaited White Paper was little more than a damp squib quickly overshadowed by the snap election, and all the while the housing crisis facing the country deepens.
It is impossible to say what the consequences of this change will be, but we hope that the decision to include housing in the ministerial title signals the government’s intent to give housing issues the prominence they deserve and the start of a more coherent approach to housing policy.