Lee Rowley has been named as the housing minister for the second time following the sacking of Rachel Maclean.

He becomes the sixteenth housing minister since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

The cabinet reshuffle saw a number of comings and goings, most notably with the sacking of Suella Braverman as home secretary and the surprise appointment of David Cameron as the latest foreign secretary.

Lee Rowley previously held the position of housing minister during Liz Truss’ short tenure as prime minister, serving for around seven weeks last year.

Rachel Maclean lasted nine months in the position until sacked yesterday (13/11) by Rishi Sunak.

James Dickens, managing director of Birmingham-based housebuilder, Wavensmere Homes, said: “With housing such a political hot potato, it is no surprise to hear that Rachel Maclean has been asked to step down from the position of housing minister. Despite being in post for longer than many of her predecessors during this parliament, she has failed to tackle the issues and make a difference.”

“I expect the rationale for yet another reshuffle comes on the back of new research revealing that the number of homes due for completion next year has fallen to half the government’s own target of 300,000. How has that been allowed to happen?”

“Lee Rowley needs to take hold of the facts and put in urgent checks and balances to help make a difference to the planning process. He then needs to convince the electorate that tackling the housing crisis is a priority before they hit the poll stations.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of policy at the National Federation of Builders, said: “We are sad to lose another housing minister and the DEFRA Secretary of State because we were engaged in serious discussions regarding a medium-sized site planning definition and strengthening the NPPF, as well as how we build in biodiversity.”

“We look forward to meeting the new housing minister and DEFRA secretary to highlight why these policies are important as without them, the government will be responsible for a greater number of SME builders and regional contractors leaving the construction sector, which makes levelling up even more difficult and further harms UK productivity.”

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said: “We welcome the appointment of Lee Rowley as the new housing minister and wish him well in the role. While he will have a full in-tray to deal with, not least Renter’s Reform, Leasehold Reform, and a large number of planning issues, at least he is already sighted on the strategic issues facing the department and has a strong understanding of local government and the need to ensure that planning and place-making is well resourced within that.”

“We particularly welcome his embrace of a multi-tenure approach to housing supply, which is pragmatic in recognising the contribution that sectors like build-to-rent, PBSA, and retirement living can make. Overall we hope that he puts his experience to maximum effect representing the views of our sector ahead of next week’s crucial Autumn Statement.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, commented: “After just 279 days in the role, housing minister Rachel Maclean has been sacked by the prime minister in what has become another manic Monday for the government. The timing for a new housing minister couldn’t have been worse, with Maclean due to introduce the Renters Reform Bill tomorrow, and the chancellor’s Autumn Statement less than two weeks away.”

“With recent news that housebuilding has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis, there is mounting pressure for the government to produce a reliable and experienced figurehead to this role, and quickly. House prices are often a barometer of the health of the wider economy, giving challenges as well as opportunities ahead of the next general election.”

“Meanwhile, the sector remains hopeful that the chancellor can offer a sense of stability and structure on November 22nd where other departments cannot.”

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The reappointment of Lee Rowley MP as the new housing minister means he should be able to hit the ground running to tackle the growing housing crisis. With housing output set to be at an all-time low, the new minister will need to focus on the barriers stopping new homes from being built. Rowley needs to build on the work of his predecessor Rachel Maclean who was a strong advocate for SME housebuilders.”

“Local housebuilders offer a way forward to help increase the country’s housing supply, but to do so effectively means tackling the failing planning system which is under resourced and fails to allocate sufficient small sites for local housebuilders to build on. Critically, housing should be one of the top five policy issues for the government because without addressing the chronic undersupply of housing the country’s economic growth will be undermined.”

Source: Showhouse