The Association of Residential Letting Agents is the latest industry voice to say that Brandon Lewis, the newly-reappointed housing minister, should have a place in cabinet because of the importance of his job.
The full statement from David Cox, ARLA‘s managing director, reads: “We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Brandon Lewis, who has deservedly retained his brief as Housing Minister in the new Conservative Government. This is a really positive and sensible move as it allows the Minister to build upon his excellent work in the role to date.
“The housing sector is vital in our national economy. It is therefore important that the subject is represented at Cabinet level in this Government, and we hope that Mr Lewis gets a regular opportunity to do so. ARLA greatly looks forward to working closely with Mr Lewis in the coming months to address the key issues that remain in the private rental sector such as the evolving regulatory environment and the need to provide a fair deal for letting agents, landlords and their tenants”.
There has been long-term criticism of both major political parties because of their failure to elevate the housing minister’s role to Cabinet status despite the fact that at several general elections - particular this month’s - housing issues have been centre stage.
There has also been widespread criticism of the last Labour and Coalition administrations for rarely allowing a housing minister time in the role to make progress. For the five years of the Coalition government, for example, there were four post-holders - Grant Shapps, Mark Prisk, Kris Hopkins and Brandon Lewis.
There has also been considerable off-the-record criticism of the shambles that accompanied the announcement of Lewis being re-appointed to the post this week: at first Number 10 announced Mark Francois was to hold the post, only to apparently change its mind the next day and reinstate Lewis, who was widely considered to have been a highly effective minister in the final year of the Coalition administration.