Industry News Sally Walmsley 10/07/2024

Housing – ministerial line-up announced

The new Labour Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner will lead on housing issues having been named the new Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The department, which has responsibility for housing issues, has reverted to its former name having been changed to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities by the Conservative administration.

Rayner, the former Shadow Housing Secretary in opposition, takes the reins from the Conservative’s Michael Gove, who had announced plans to step down from politics ahead of last week’s general election, which saw a landslide Labour victory.

Labour made a number of manifesto pledges on housing ahead of the election, pledging to ‘overhaul’ regulation of the private rented sector including the immediate abolition of Section 21 repossessions and plans to extend ‘Awaab’s Law’ to the private sector.

How exactly this will happen and to what time frame is expected to be detailed in the King’s Speech, which will take place next Wednesday, 17 July outlining the Government’s legislative plans for the Parliamentary year.

The pledge on Section 21 reiterated promises made in Rayner's speech to last year’s Labour Party Conference in which she committed to reform, as well as plans to build new social and council housing, to be facilitated by changes to planning laws.

Later, at the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum, in May this year, she announced policy proposals to introduce more new towns, more affordable housing and a return of housing targets.

In her first speech as Chancellor this week Rachael Reeves focussed discussion on plans to ‘rebuild Britain’ and confirmed Labour will reintroduce mandatory housing targets as part of pro-growth reforms to the National Planning Policy Framework.

Other appointments

Other junior ministerial appointments made post-election include Matthew Pennycook MP, the former Shadow Housing and Planning Minister who has been appointed as a Minister of State for Housing.  

NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle met with him when he was in opposition, to outline the specific challenges facing private landlords and sharing NRLA proposals on reform that were included in the association’s alternative white paper A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector.

On a positive note, the new Minister recognised the need for landlords to be able to regain possession of their properties in legitimate circumstances during his role in opposition.

Speaking at Report Stage of the Renters (Reform) Bill in the House of Commons on 24 April this year he said: “Landlords need robust grounds for possessions in legitimate circumstances, and they need the system to operate quickly when they do.”

In addition to this, he has previously recognised the need to protect the annual cycle of the student housing market, noting: “The student market is distinct in particular ways from the rest of the private rented sector and that its protection requires a bespoke approach of some kind.”

The Minister is also on record as saying Labour would have ‘happily passed’ the Renters (Reform) Bill before the dissolution of Parliament, had it made it to wash up, telling Sky News: “We took the Bill through Parliament. We took it right to the end, got to the wash up, we said to the Government we would happily pass this.  It’s not perfect, we wanted to see it strengthened, but renters are so desperately in need of greater rights and protections we will see it through.”

Other ministerial announcements in policy areas likely to have a knock-on impact on the PRS include:

  • Heidi Alexander MP, former Deputy Mayor for Transport in London, who has been appointed as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice.
  • Alison McGovern MP a previous Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, who has been appointed a Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee in the last Parliament, who has also been appointed as a Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.

NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle said: “We look forward to working constructively with the new government to ensure any changes are fair and workable for tenants and responsible landlords and are sustainable for the years to come.

“The new Housing Minister has gone on record recognising the challenges faced by landlords and the need for robust repossession grounds, and we look forward to discussing this further with him.”

More information

For more information on the content of next week’s King’s Speech keep an eye on our news site and social media channels. NRLA members are also invited to an exclusive webinar on the legislative commitments outlined on 17 July. The free webinar will run from 12-1pm on 24 July, with more details available on our events page here.

To find out more about the NRLA's key asks of the new government click here.

A full list of all junior ministerial appointments is available here.

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley Magazine and Digital Editor

Sally is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

See all articles by Sally Walmsley