Liz Truss won the battle to become the UK’s next Prime Minister today and take the keys to 10 Downing Street after securing 57.1% of the Tory membership vote with 81,326 votes and leaving rival Rishi Sunak trailing with 60,399 votes.
In her victory speech Truss (pictured) said: “I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply.
“I know that we will deliver. We will deliver, we will deliver, we will deliver. And we we will deliver a great victory for the Conservative Party in 2024.”
Truss’s victory has received a cautious welcome from all sides of the industry.
Jackson Stops’ Nick Leeming says: “Stability is key for a healthy economy and housing market – I hope that Truss will put a stop to the Housing Minister merry-go-round we’ve seen over the last decade. There remains an imbalance between housing supply and demand for both buyers and tenants, so we look forward to a more normalised marketplace. We need consistent policies to achieve this.”
Simon Cox, Managing Director of land agency Walter Cooper, says: “When it comes to housing, resolving the issues in planning needs to be one of the top items on the next PM’s agenda, and that will mean making some unpopular decisions.
“Truss now needs to shift her focus from pandering to the NIMBY masses and publicly turn away from previous statements made by other Conservative MPs such as Michael Gove, regarding the so called ‘cartel’, or face alienating the housebuilding community entirely.
Housing plays a major part in supporting the economy.”
“Housing plays a major part in supporting the economy and I implore the new PM to work with those in the industry to provide support in promoting an ‘open for housebuilding’ agenda.
“Truss may have pledged her commitment to removing planning restrictions in an attempt to boost housebuilding, but in abandoning the government target of building 300,000 houses a year, will her so called ‘investment zones’ ever really come to fruition? Something needs to be done to increase the number of houses built in this country before home ownership becomes further out of reach for all but a select few.”
Nick Sanderson, Chief Executive at Audley Group, says: “She is right that focusing on social care will free up space in the NHS, but wrong to think it is only money that can achieve this laudable aim. Housing, health, and social care should all go hand in hand to look at prevention, rather than cure. The more age-appropriate housing, with care and wellbeing facilities on site that we build, the lighter the pressure on the system.”
Anne-Marie Brown (pictured right), the Founder and Chief Executive of Love to Rent, says: “We have been calling on the government for the last few years to address the problems that are plaguing the private rental market and causing difficulties for thousands of people.
“When this is compounded by the cost-of-living crisis, the future is uncertain for many. We believe a dedicated minister is needed to forward plan and pave the way for a more secure future for the thousands of people living in rental property.”
Details of who Truss will appoint to her cabinet are yet to be revealed but speculation is rife that staunch supporter Simon Clarke, who worked under Rishi Sunak in the Treasury as the department’s chief secretary, will be made housing and levelling up secretary as a result of him holding a Red Wall seat in Middlesborough South and East Cleveland.
He would be the 21st housing minister in the role since 1997.
Dominic Agace, Chief Executive of Winkworth, says: “I hope the Secretary of State can create a long-term plan for housing and commit to longevity in the role – in the same way Ben Wallace has in defence. Only then can change actually be delivered.”
And he adds: “It is a difficult time for any new Prime Minister to come in. However, it does feel the right time for a change after the recent depressing and continual flow of negative news flowing around the Government on questions of propriety.
It does feel the right time for a change after the recent depressing and continual flow of negative news.”
“Hopefully, a new leader with plans for growth can inject some renewed positivity into the Government and UK PLC generally.
“Clearly there is a lot at stake but negative outcomes aren’t baked in. I hope the new Prime Minister can seize the moment to ensure a positive divergence from current newsflow projections by creating a long-term plan for growth.”
Property expert, Allan Fuller of Allan Fuller Estate Agents, says: “It will be interesting to see how much of Liz Truss’ ‘toy-town’ economic policy statements become reality.
“A harsh winter with massive bills and escalating food price inflation must be her most immediate and pressing matter. If not sorted rapidly, homeowners with mortgages and tenants paying rent will have impossible decisions to make as to where their money goes and who they can pay.”
Martin Stewart, director at broker London Money, says: “Liz could do a lot worse than make the position of Housing Minister a full-time cabinet position.
“Until they understand the gravitas of our property market and its importance to wider society we are likely to see Housing Ministers change with the same frequency as Manchester United managers.”
Nathan Emerson, Propertymark’s CEO says: “We congratulate Liz Truss on her successful election campaign and urge her to work with property professionals to find solutions to these major issues facing the sector.
“The spiralling cost of household gas and electricity bills has put the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock into sharp focus. With unilateral EPC rating targets looming, there is currently no long-term plan that sets out how they will be achieved.
“Propertymark is a strong advocate of making homes more energy efficient as the best solution to bringing down bills. However, it is unlikely that significant progress can be made until ministers better understand the current housing stock and then apply realistic targets based on properties’ individual characteristics with sustained funding for homeowners.”
More to follow…
Main pic courtesy BBC News