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Minister Madness! Industry supplier hits out at politicians

A prominent industry supplier has hit out at what he calls “the merry go round of housing ministers” following yet another new appointment.

Last month a mini-reshuffle - designed to shore up the government after the lurid allegations of parties during lockdowns - Prime Minister Boris Johnson named Stuart Andrew as the latest housing minister.

Andrew, a former deputy chief whip with little apparent experience in the housing sector, swapped places with Chris Pincher. 


Andrew was the 11th person to hold the post in 12 years and the 18th different minister, including the Tories and Labour, to take on the position since 2001. 

Now the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks has spoken out about the political instability in the post, which it says has a direct impact on housing policy in both the sales and lettings sectors. 

“This idea of the position of housing minister being seen as a stepping stone to greater things, and not a really important job in its own right, needs to stop for the good of the whole industry” insists Daniel Evans, chair of the AIIC. 

“The situation now has got seriously ridiculous. We’re now onto our 11th different housing minister in 12 years, nearly at a rate of one a year. That level of churn and turnover is unhealthy in any business and workplace, and that’s no different in a government department.” 

Evans argues that the role of housing minister has taken on even more importance recently, with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last year renamed as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 

“Some saw this as a relegation of housing from the top table of government again, with Michael Gove’s wide brief also including the levelling up agenda and protecting the union” Evans continues.

“As such, whoever has the position of housing minister becomes the main voice of the industry, the conduit between central government and the industry at large. If that person changes every five minutes, or has no lived experience in the industry, it’s going to be hard to get anything done, or to implement long-term change.” 

Evans points to the failure up until now to deliver the recommendations put forward by the Regulation of Property Agents working group, despite cross-party support for the majority of the suggestions. 

It’s a similar case with the long-promised reform to the private rental sector, first pledged in the 2019 Conservative manifesto but still not yet seeing the light of day.

“It’s clearly a difficult time at the moment, with many complex geopolitical and domestic issues to deal with, ranging from the war in Ukraine and the pandemic to the cost-of-living crisis, but legislative change is always much more difficult to achieve and create when the traction and momentum is lost between changes of minister,” Evans says. 

“There’s also been the issue of headline government policy being designed to meet current political needs - point-scoring in other words, to get on the side of voters - rather than being in line with a sound underlying housing strategy for the future.” 


Evans says housing and the private rental sector shouldn’t be used as a political football, and says instead it should be dealt with in a more impartial manner. 

“There’s an argument that housing, given its importance as a basic right, should be stripped away from petty politics and dealt with independently – as has also been suggested for the NHS and education in the past.

“But, most importantly of all, if the government wants to create a clear vision for housing and renting in this country – and truly level up – it needs to stop this ludicrous merry-go-round of ministers, which means the industry has to get used to a new person in place every time a reshuffle happens.” 

And he concludes: “I’m sure I’m not alone in being fed up of welcoming yet another new housing minister – some longevity, stability and security would be nice for once, wouldn’t it?”

  • James B

    And each time a new one arrives he wants to make a name for himself with tenants by bashing landlords that bit harder

  • Noel Wood

    Same reason I left teaching 25 years ago. The merry go round of Education Ministers changing the ever changing policies to 'make their mark' in the climb up the political ladder. A constant churn of leadership.


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