minister

Former Northern Ireland Secretary to replace Sajid Javid as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government by Vivien Moseley

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James Brokenshire is set to take over from Sajid Javid as Housing and Communities Secretary, as Theresa May appoints Javid to replace Amber Rudd after her resignation as Home Secretary on Sunday evening.

Downing Street confirmed that Sajid Javid has been moved to the Home Office, while Brokenshire, will now replace him at the Department for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (DHCLG).

Brokenshire stepped down from his Cabinet role as Northern Ireland Secretary in January 2017 due to ill health, he has been a Member of Parliament since 2005 and is seen as a key ally of Theresa May. A former solicitor who specialised in international law and advised a range of companies, businesses and financial institutions in the UK and overseas.

With the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government recently being renamed to include the housing portfolio with that of communities, along with a long-term inconsistency in post holders, Brokenshire is sure to face some challenges on his return to frontline politics.

As his brief includes a raft of key environmental policies he will certainly be receiving immediate calls for central government to reintroduce zero carbon home standards for new properties and boost the enforcement of existing energy efficiency standards.

Brokenshire will also be tasked with adjudicating over the increasingly intense debate over allowing more building on the green belt and he will no doubt be confronted with demands for the government to rethink its stringent planning rules for onshore renewables energy projects.

Who is the new Minister of State for Housing, Dominic Raab? by Vivien Moseley

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Dominic Raab stepped into his new role as Minister of State for Housing at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 9 January during the Prime Minister's latest cabinet reshuffle. He previously held office at the Ministry of Justice as Minister of State for Courts and Justice.

Raab, considered one of the rising stars of the Conservative Party, replaces Alok Sharma who held the position for just seven months, during which he was tasked with research for the Social Housing Green Paper. Unfortunately, Sharma was not able to complete the project during his time in the role. However, the report is due to be finalised and published this spring. Sharma has subsequently been made the new Employment Minister.  

Raab was first elected as Member of Parliament representing the low-growth, green belt constituency of Esher and Walton in 2010; a safe Conservative seat since its creation in 1997. Before entering Parliament, Raab worked as a business lawyer at the City law firm Linklaters specialising in project finance, international litigation and competition law.

Between 2000 and 2006, Raab joined the civil service at the Foreign Office. He covered a range of briefs, including heading a British Embassy team at The Hague, which was dedicated to bringing war criminals to justice. From 2006 until his election as a Member of Parliament, Dominic Raab worked as Chief of Staff to Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, and to Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Grieve.

Although planning has been dropped from the title, Raab will take responsibility for planning alongside housing with his brief to cover:

  • Supporting the Housing Secretary on housing supply policy and delivery
  • Housing financing streamsHome ownership policy
  • Planning policy and casework oversightHomes England sponsorship and performance
  • Building safety and regulations (including government response to the Hackitt review)
  • Land assembly and release, and Public Sector Land and Digital Land
  • ‘Help to Buy’
  • Quality and design
  • Grenfell recovery programme
  • Social Housing Green Paper.

Since his election, Raab has not been particularly active when it comes to housing debates in parliament but has been a vocal opponent to building on the green belt. In early 2017, he stated that he was amongst the MPs that lobbied the government, as it created its Housing White Paper, against green belt building. He went on to say that as the government endeavours to build more affordable housing it must ensure that green belt protections remain intact.

During the drafting of the NPPF 45 Tory and Lib Dem MPs , including Raab, wrote an open letter to the government to express their concerns. This open letter requested that the government carefully considered the new rules to ensure a continued commitment to genuine sustainable development that prioritises quality of life over economic interests. The 45 MPs also called for a commitment to build on brown-field sites before any consideration is given to the development of green belt areas.

Raab’s appointment to the position of Housing Minister has been seen as a contentious appointment by some due to his lack of experience in housing and Local Government alongside his commitment to green belt protections.