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Housing ministry changes name as Gove leads charge to ‘level up’ UK

Government has made one of its more curious decisions, demoting Gove's Ministry to a Department, and side-lining housing.

Nigel Lewis

housing ministry levelling up

The government made one of its most curious and ‘Orwellian’ U-turns over the weekend after renaming the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

This leaves the organisation with not only the most tongue-twisting acronym in government – the DLUHC – but also sees it struck down from a ministry to a department, and its long-standing focus on housing demoted.

The renaming, which was announced on Sunday, follows a previous re-naming in 2018 by Theresa May, from the Department for Communities and Local Government to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

tim farron levelling up

The name change has not been kindly received so far. Former LibDem leader and the party’s housing spokesperson Tim Farron says: “We should only sparingly call things ‘Orwellian’. The ‘Department for Levelling up’ *is* one such thing.

“Nothing encapsulates 1984 more than naming a department after a thing that isn’t even happening.”

Levelling up

The move also reflects the arrival of its latest minister, Kemi Badenoch, who is the only one among its four junior Conservative ministers to have any responsibility for levelling up the UK.

It also follows Boris Johnson’s decision to put levelling up at the heart of his re-election strategy; over the weekend former Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane was appointed as the new Head of the Levelling Up Taskforce.

The taskforce has been jointly established by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove MP (pictured).

He says: “I’m thrilled that the PM has asked me to lead the Levelling Up agenda, the defining mission of this Government.

“With a superb team of ministers and officials in a new department, our relentless focus will be on delivering for those overlooked families and undervalued communities across the United Kingdom.”

September 20, 2021



    In 1970 Jonathan Cleese and others in the Monty Python team, famously acted out a skit, where a government department famously invents silly walks which are to be grant funded. The whole piece was a ‘modern’ satire on the government and civil servant mandarins in Whitehall who dream up grandiose ideas, with little regard to reality.

    The reason I explain all of this, is that now Michael Gove has ousted Robert Jenrick as the housing secretary. It would seem that the actual ministry has become part of that famous Monty Python sketch, in that The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), is now rebranded as The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

    Give it a few months and it may well become The Ministry of Silly Walks, Levelling up, Levelling down, Housing and Communities (MSWLLHC).
    I say this as Andy Haldane is to head up the levelling process, a mythical invention which will see the UK as a balanced landscape or as Mr Haldane quoted by the Guardian recently put it, ‘to design and deliver an economy that works for every part of the UK.’

    It may be that I have lived too long, but is housing now going to hitched up to bandwagon of Boris Johnson’s need to go to the country at the next general election with credentials that show he cares for the North as much as the South.

    The good news is that Boris has publically backed the credentials of Andy Haldane, who was formally chief economist at the Bank of England, and the unwelcome news is that Andy will be directly accountable to the PM and Mr Gove.

    I say this is unwelcome news for My Haldane, as Mr Gove has an annoying habit of being parachuted in to troubled areas of government, creating chaos then parachuting out, leaving everyone connected to him counting the cost.

  2. ‘ Levelling – up ‘ must Not, be at the Further cost to Landlords !

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