NLA in Action – 14 February 2020
Question: What has Mr Christopher Pincher MP got in common with Grantt Shapps, Mark Prisk, Kris Hopkins, Brandon Lewis, Gavin Barwell, Alok Sharma, Dominic Raab, Kit Malthouse, and Esther McVey?
Answer: He can now add the title ‘Housing Minister’ to his CV, in fact he is now the 10th Conservative housing minister since the party returned to power in 2010 – not including the various secretaries of state and parliamentary undersecretaries we have also endured during that time.
If that were not a sobering enough fact, statistically it is probable that in around 13 months he will also be able to claim the title ‘former housing minister’ as he is either moved on the better and brighter things, or not. Such is the level of expectation ahead of a new housing minister.
In the interests of balance, this revolving door is not a creation of the Conservative Party. Since Tony Blair came to power in 1997, we have seen 19 ministers of state responsible for housing, with an average tenure of only about 15 months even after you take into account Nick Raynsford’s impressive 49-month tenure and Yvette Cooper’s two and a half years.
It is hardly any wonder, therefore, that housing policy is in the state that it currently is bearing in mind that no single minister has been in place log enough to run out of business cards since 2001.
On that basis I would like to warmly welcome Mr Pincher to the job on behalf of the NLA and offer whatever support we can, given that I can’t imagine he will receive a fantastic handover from his predecessor. We look forward to meeting with the new minister shortly and starting all over again.
That being said, the new minister has some experience of working with both the NLA and RLA, having recently referenced both when responding to the announcement by Zoopla to end such listings he said:
“The decision supports the recommendations from the National Landlords Association and Residential Landlords Association and has also been backed by Shelter. Other companies are being invited to follow suit and change their policies.” He went on to say: “I will continue to work on this issue to help reduce homelessness and make the private rented sector more appealing for all”
Aside from another change in housing minister, the big news for landlords this week has been the replacement of Sajid Javid as chancellor of the exchequer.
Rishi Sunak moves into No. 11 Downing Street, having previously served as a junior minister at housing, communities and local government so may at least have an awareness of the pressures facing our sector.
Although we never got the opportunity to learn what Mr Javid would have included in this first budget (becoming only the second Chancellor in history not to deliver a budget statement), hopes were not especially high that he would sympathise with landlords’ concerns. Given this surprise change of personnel we will need to work fast to influence Mr Sunak’s thinking.