James Brokenshire has replaced Sajid Javid as Secretary of State for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG). Javid has moved on to the Home Office to replace Amber Rudd, who resigned following the Windrush scandal.
Javid was an advocate for change in the housing market, pressing for radical ideas to drive housebuilding, and was a supporter of the Custom and Self Build sector having had meetings with NaCSBA and seen European models of Custom Build first hand.
Brokenshire is noted for being close to Prime Minister May, and is described as ‘quietly loyal’. He is returning to cabinet after he left his former position of Northern Ireland Secretary in January after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
He tweeted the following on his appointment:
The industry reception has been welcoming, with RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said, “The RIBA welcomes James Brokenshire MP as the new Secretary of State. In recent months the Ministry has increased its focus on design and build quality and we hope this agenda will continue to be prioritised by Mr Brokenshire.
“Only last week, MHCLG ministers confirmed, at their Housing Quality Conference, that driving up standards in design and build quality is key to tackling the housing crisis and meeting supply targets. We stand ready to support this effort at RIBA.
“We also need to see greater investment in social housing, more radical moves to provide councils greater powers to build, and fresh thinking on how infrastructure can be used to create better communities.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said: “Sajid Javid passes the housing baton to James Brokenshire at a crucial time for the sector.
“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.
“In particular, we are keen to work with the new Secretary of State to unleash the capacity of small local house builders. 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.”
Another new name in housing makes for another round of repeated conversations about the benefits and needs of the Custom Build sector. I’m sorry to see Javid go, he’s been a solid force in housing. Hopefully, Brokenshire will be willing to listen and take onboard the challenges for disrupting our conventional housing delivery mechanism. The crisis only ever gets more serious, so all avenues need to be explored.