Property industry leaders have urged the new Secretary of State for Housing to continue the good work of his predecessor in raising the profile of the sector.
James Brokenshire was announced yesterday as the new secretary of state to replace Sajid Javid, who was named the Home Secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd.
And on the first day of his appointment, leaders from across all spheres of the industry encouraged Mr Brokenshire to hit the ground running and get on with implementing measures that were highlighted in last year’s housing white paper.
Melanie Leech, chief executive at the British Property Federation, said: “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.”
According to Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, the appointment comes at a “crucial time for the sector”.
He added: “We hope that Brokenshire will build on Javid’s good work, both in terms of raising the profile of housing as an issue at cabinet level and implementing some sound policies aimed at tackling the housing shortage,” said Brian.
“In particular, we are keen to work with the new secretary of state to unleash the capacity of small local housebuilders.
“Last year’s housing white paper and the November Budget statement that followed have given us a blueprint for change, but now we need to get on and do it. We stand ready to help Brokenshire deliver the 300,000 new homes per year needed in England alone.”
Michael Dean, principal at Avamore Capital, said that while the government could say it was taking housing seriously, its actions had yet to back up their claims.
“There’s no accountability when targets are missed because whoever was responsible for those targets would have moved into another position in government,” he added.
Charles McDowell, commercial director of mortgages at Aldermore, welcomed Mr Brokenshire to his new job and said he should continue the work of Javid.
He added: “It is a hugely important job and Sajid Javid has made good strides in tackling some of the big issues impacting the housing market and increasing its profile.
“Housing is an important issue, if not one of the most important issues facing our country. It can only be solved with long-term strategic thinking.
“We have been clear that the government must prioritise the building of homes in the right places with infrastructure and facilities in order that we have the houses that are desperately needed.”
Richard Beresford, chief executive at the National Federation of Builders, said that SMEs had a crucial role in building communities and place-making across all regions of the UK.
He added: “SMEs have a unique understanding of their local communities and smaller [developments] face less opposition.
“Carillion has, hopefully, taught us not to put too much faith in the market’s larger players delivering on public aspirations.”
Who is James Brokenshire?
James Brokenshire studied law at the University of Exeter and worked as a partner at a large international law firm before becoming an MP.
While working at the company, he advised a range of companies, businesses and financial institutions on company law, mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance transactions.
Brokenshire became an MP for Hornchurch and Rainham in 2005. The constituency was abolished five years later and he was elected MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup in 2010.
From 2006, Brokenshire was Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and then became Parliamentary Under Secretary from May 2010 until February 2014. He served as Minister for Immigration and Security at the Home Office from 2014 to 2015 and as Minister for Immigration from May 2015 until July 2016.
He became Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on April 30 2018.
In the past, Brokenshire has campaigned on issues such as crime, asylum and immigration and keeping healthcare facilities at his local hospital.