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15/07/2016

Spotlight on the new Communities Secretary

 

As part of her
dramatic Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, new Prime Minister Theresa May
appointed former Business Secretary Sajid Javid to the role of Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government.  He replaces Greg Clark who, in turn,
has been put in charge of the newly formed Business, Energy and Industrial
Strategy department.

Mrs May’s decision
to shift Sajid Javid to DCLG has been welcomed by the National Housing Federation,
hoping a constructive relationship can be formed in a bid to tackle the UK’s
housing crisis. Time will tell
whether this Cabinet appointment will represent a significant change in direction
for DCLG. But what do we already know about Mr Javid’s views on the housing and
planning sector?

The Bromsgrove
MP had aims to become Chancellor after running with Stephen Crabb on a joint
ticket in the Tory leadership contest. Mr Crabb decided to pull out of the race
soon after the first ballot. Before this however, both Mr Crabb and Mr Javid had
announced plans to build a £100 billion ‘Growing Britain Fund’ for infrastructure
projects including social housing and school buildings. It’s clear, therefore,
that Mr Javid recognises that large investment is needed in the housing
sector. 

It is
important to note that Sajid Javid also has a history of fighting green belt development within his own constituency. Earlier this year,
plans to build 2,800 homes were met with strident opposition from him.

In July 2015
Mr Javid welcomed government proposals stating
that developers would automatically be given permission to build on suitable
disused industrial land. He said at the time: "Under-supply of housing
pushes up house prices in many areas and means millions of people can't live
and work where they want to, or even own their own home. We are absolutely
determined to see more planning permissions granted and more houses
built."

Mr Javid’s new
responsibilities include driving up housing supply as well as increasing home
ownership across the UK, a clear priority for the Conservative Government. His
success will be measured on whether he manages to achieve
these goals. 

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