What will the new incumbent do for an industry in dire need of attention?

One of the major frustrations for a representative organisation like the Home Builders Federation is that just as you just get to the point of understanding a minister's take on a brief - and having spent a great deal of time and effort ensuring they are aware of the implications for your members of any policy decisions - they get moved on or replaced.

John Healey will be the fourth housing minister in about 18 months, and while ministers moving on is a reality of political life, it is a frustrating one. Yvette Cooper was in post for long enough to fully understand the policy detail and repercussions and develop an increasingly pro-active stance taking these on board. But Caroline Flint's and Margaret Beckett's shorter tenures meant that we needed to reinvest in relationships at a very challenging time.

It must therefore be hoped that as we seek to build a path to recovery John Healey remains in position until at least the next election.

On the plus side, he starts with an advantage his predecessors did not have. He has been at the communities department for about two years already and so has an understanding of the issues facing the sector.

He has been heavily involved in discussions on the Planning Bill, Community Infrastructure Levy and the Sub National Economic Review with its reorganisation of responsibilities for the Regional Spatial Strategies - all issues critical to housebuilders both in the short term, as we look to recover from the downturn, and the long term, as we attempt to deliver the housing this country needs.

In his previous communities department role we took part in discussions with Mr Healey on a number of occasions and have found him ready to listen and debate. I look forward therefore to a developing a fruitful relationship. In these turbulent economic times it is vital that we have a minister who understands the huge range of issues facing housebuilders and housing delivery.