Industry gives thumbs-up to new housing minister Grant Shapps
THE housing industry has welcomed the ministerial appointment of Grant Shapps.
The Welwyn Hatfield MP was yesterday confirmed as housing minister in the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
And leading figures have been quick to offer their endorsement of the man who has held the shadow version of the post for the past three years.
Bodies welcoming the news included the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the National Housing Federation (NHF).
TCPA interim chief executive Kate Henderson said: “Grant Shapps’ appointment is a welcome continuation from his role as the shadow housing minister and the TCPA looks forward to an ongoing working relationship with him.
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“The association has its routes in the Garden City movement and Mr Shapps’ constituency, Welwyn Garden City [sic] is an excellent example of how we can deliver better kinds of development linked to a model of fairness and affordability.”
“The new Ministerial team must now work together and across government to tackle climate change, create cohesive communities and deliver desperately needed homes for all.”
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Simon Gordon of the NLA said: “We very much look forward to working with him on the housing challenges before the sector, but it is disappointing that he will not be attending cabinet.
“We will continue to press the Government on its pre-election committment to repeal the damaging changes to the planning system with regards to shared housing, which were rushed through at the end of the last parliament.”
NHF chief executive David Orr said he has an already-established close working relationship with Mr Shapps.
Last autumn, Mr Shapps appointed Mr Orr as chairman of a mobility taskforce, which is exploring ways of making it easier for social housing tenants to move home.
Mr Orr said he was confident Mr Shapps would work hard to promote the cause of affordable housing, but said it was critical he ensured the housing budget was protected from public spending cuts.
“We look forward to working closely with Mr Shapps, and his colleagues in the new coalition government, on ensuring that the nation gets the affordable housing it so desperately needs,” Mr Orr said.
“‘Mr Shapps has demonstrated an expert knowledge of the challenges faced by our sector and understands the need to incentivise local communities to accept the building of new homes in their area.
“With record waiting lists for social homes, Dickensian levels of overcrowding in many of our cities, and a dramatic slump in house-building numbers, it’s clear that the need for more affordable housing has never been greater.”