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.
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.”
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.”