Fresh churn for architecture and construction sector as Sajid Javid moves to Home Office

James Brokenshire

Prime minister Theresa May has appointed the fourth secretary of state responsible for housing in the space of three years as Sajid Javid moves to the Home Office.

May this morning announced James Brokenshire as the new boss at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. He served as secretary of state for Northern Ireland until January, when he resigned to focus on receiving treatment for a lung condition. The former lawyer is now understood to be making a full recovery.

Javid, who had been secretary of state at MHCLG and its predecessor, the Department for Communities and Local Government, since July 2016, is moving to the Home Office to fill the shoes of Amber Rudd. She resigned last night over misleading comments she made before MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of investigations into the Windrush Scandal.

Javid’s departure from MHCLG – which oversees planning policy, housing associations, architecture, and the construction of new homes – comes barely three months since the department was rebranded to emphasise the May government’s keenness to prioritise tackling the nation’s housing crisis.

And only last week he and housing minister Dominic Raab gave keynote speeches at the MHCLG’s Design Quality Conference in which they stressed the govenment’s commitment to solving the housing crisis, with quality being as important as quantity.

Brokenshire will be the fourth secretary of state responsible for housing and communities in the space of three years. He said he was “honoured” to have been appointed to lead MHCLG by the prime minister

“Looking forward to taking the Government’s agenda forward especially on building the homes our country needs,” he wrote on Twitter.

Javid had replaced Greg Clark – now business secretary – when Theresa May succeeded David Cameron following the result of 2016’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Clark had served in post since Cameron’s surprise 2015 general election victory.

Eric Pickles served as communities secretary for the entirety of the coalition government period.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation welcomed Brokenshire, despite expressing regret that Javid had moved on.

She said: “While it is disappointing to lose Sajid Javid from housing, we welcome James Brokenshire and look forward to working with him to drive forward the government’s multi-tenure approach to new housing delivery and the policy changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.

“These changes underpin the government’s agenda on so many levels – providing the right homes in the right places will increase UK productivity, economic growth and social wellbeing in the long-term.”

Johnny Caddick, managing director at Moda, said the firm was worried about the lack of consistency in the role.

He said: “The lack of ministerial continuity should worry the entire sector, so we hope that James Brokenshire can buck the trend of past ministers and provide stability to the government’s housing approach and see through the much needed reforms.

“Sajid Javid oversaw the biggest policy shift towards the rental sector we have ever seen. James Brokenshire must also focus on making renting aspirational, and Moda is delighted to support that effort with a promise of family friendly tenancies, quality homes and a level of management and service that people deserve.”