The prime minister’s decision to reduce the rank of the role reflects, perversely, how much more seriously the government is taking housing
Downing Street this week strenuously denied claims it had demoted housing policy by asking a junior minister to hold the brief rather than a minister of state. Indeed, David Cameron’s decision to reduce the rank of the role reflects, perversely, how much more seriously the government is taking housing policy, as it is increasingly the Treasury – rather than the DCLG - that has been taking the important decisions in this area.
Housing is seen by the Treasury and Number 10 as a key economic driver – evident in the keenness with which the second phase of Help to Buy was brought forward – with the chancellor clearly enamoured by its ability to generate economic activity and a consumer feel-good factor.
The chancellor is clearly enamoured by housebuilding’s ability to generate economic activity and a consumer feel-good factor
As one source that knows DCLG well said: “This is just an overt recognition of what was happening anyway, that the Treasury is increasingly driving housing policy.”
But, of course, the Treasury is only interested in things that boost growth.
Therefore many in the housing sector are reading this as a further downgrading of the other side of the sector: affordable and social housing.
As the source says: “It seems that policies creating opportunities for extending home ownership are the driving force, and that everything else comes a poor second.”
Joey Gardiner is assistant editor of Building