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No wonder nothing’s ever joined up! Housing minister role has highest ministerial churn

Research by BBC shows at 18 ministers since 2007 the job of being a housing minister is a perilous and short-lived one for most people.

Nigel Lewis

housing minister

The staggering rate at which housing ministers have arrived and departed over the past 23 years has been laid bare by researchers from the BBC’s Reality Check team.

It has discovered that the job of housing minister has been held by the largest number of people for any major government position other than that of Cabinet Office minister, which it equals.

Since Tony Blair took office in 2007 a total of 18 housing ministers have entered and then often swiftly exited the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government, as it used to be known.

This makes housing minister the equal most perilous position to hold in government just pipping Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Leader of the Commons and Chief Whip.

As might be expected, the most secure ministerial jobs are Prime Minister, Chancellor, Attorney General, Foreign Secretary and Health Secretary.

Revolving door

Nick Raynsford, who was Tony Blair’s first housing minister, outlined the cost to the property industry of such a shocking revolving door policy.

“Successful housing policies require long-term investment and continuity,” he says.

“If ministers think they are only going to be in post for a few months, they will inevitably only focus on short-term initiatives, which may earn them a good headline but are unlikely to deliver substantial and lasting benefits.”

The BBC report also highlights the other damaging effects of ministerial churn for the industry, including how it is 10 Downing Street and the Treasury who in reality steer housing policy, not the Ministry itself.

September 3, 2019

One comment

  1. At last, someone in the media has spotted that despite the platitudes from all of the former Prime Ministers, housing is a “stepping stone” appointment.

    Ian Wright (former MP for Hartlepool) is now in The House of Lords.
    Ian Austin (MP for Dudley North) return directly to the back benches.

    This is part of Labour’s record, but the Coalition and the current Conservative administration have treated housing with the same amount of ignorance/contempt.

    Worse still they keep promising to build 300,000 houses a year.

    Tiny problem, we do not have enough tradesmen to build that number of houses. Our capacity is 180,000 houses, and guess what, that is the number that we build annually.

    We need to increase the number of trades people by a third. Until this is done, nothing will change.

    Look at the profits that the large house builders are making. One has shown a nett profit of 30%.

    We need someone who is interested in Housing as a mission and stick at it for a whole 5 year Parliament.

    As long as this goes on, nothing will change.

    Like so many other things, Parliamentarians are fighting there own little battles and fail to see the big picture.

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