Former TV presenter Esther McVey MP has been named the new housing minister, taking over the reins from Kit Malthouse. She will be the ninth housing minister in nine years. So who is she – and what are her views on housing?
MP for Tatton and an ardent Brexiteer, McVey was Secretary of State for Word and Pensions from January- November 2018, before resigning over her opposition to the Prime Minister’s deal.
She has also served as a Junior Work and Pensions Minister, Minister of State for Employment and Government Deputy Chief Whip
As Work and Pensions Secretary she had some involvement with housing issues in relation to the controversial Universal Credit scheme.
In July 2018 it was reported by the head of the National Audit Office (NAO) that McVey had misled parliament over Universal Credit, by claiming that the NAO report showed that it should be rolled out faster when in fact the report concluded that the roll-out should be paused.
She apologised to the House of Commons on 4th July 2018 amid calls for her resignation.
She announced her intention to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party, but was eliminated after the first ballot.
Views on housing
In February 2013 as a Junior Minister at the DWP McVey responded to a parliamentary question about private landlords who do not rent to benefit claimants, saying at the time: “Good local authorities work with good local landlords.”
Speaking in a debate in 2014 on the Affordable Homes Bill she said in respect of removing what she described as a ‘spare room subsidy’:
“We appeared to have two different systems in place, which the Opposition were happy to preside over.
“People in private rented accommodation who needed their house paid for by the state lived by one set of rules, but people in social housing lived by a different set of rules. That needed to be aligned—how could it carry on?
“Given the deficit and the debt, given that the Labour Party had more or less brought the country to its knees, we had to ask how we were going to deal with all those factors.
“What would we do to ensure fairness for people, whether they were in social housing, private housing or in their own accommodation as taxpayers paying the bill for other people? That is what we had to deal with, and it was probably one of the single most difficult issues to resolve.”
She tweets @EstherMcVey1.
Boris Johnson became the new Prime Minister of the UK this week. Read our blog on what we can expect on housing here.