Intended as the start of a new era for Theresa May’s government, the Prime Minister’s hopes of reasserting her authority largely fell flat after a number of senior figures refused to shift from their jobs. As a result, Theresa May’s apparent weakness was openly mocked as “embarrassing” by fellow Conservatives within Parliament. In fact, one source went so far to describe the proceedings as “the night of the blunt stiletto”.
Despite the fairly negative general reaction, the latest round of cabinet moves represented a positive step for housing after the issue was returned to Cabinet status, with Sajid Javid being given the title of Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Javid’s department was also renamed as the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. However, it is not clear how his role will interact with the new Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, and who will be responsible for what within the newly-named government department.
Until the announcement, Sajid held the title of Communities Secretary but, according to a number of commentators, the PM wanted to advance housing up the political agenda and be seen to be doing something about the ongoing supply crisis.
The cabinet reshuffle certainly comes at a challenging time for Sajid Javid – who was immediately called upon to steer the tenant fees ban through parliament, along with a great number of other pressing issues.
Following the Grenfell Tower disaster last year in which 71 people died, housing moved to the top of the domestic policy agenda. The public inquiry is already demanding significant time from Javid, with early findings likely to be in high demand.
Furthermore, the policy agenda is also focused upon the Planning White Paper, changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (already a target for MPs in marginal rural constituencies) and a Green Paper on social housing.
After launching the new national housing agency in mid-January however, Javid certainly has not wasted time embarking on this significant policy undertaking.
Homes England – which has replaced the Homes and Communities Agency – will spearhead the changes laid out in the government’s Housing White Paper. The new body will be pivotal in securing land for new developments, in addition to supporting smaller and more innovative housebuilders.
The agency will aim to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
Speaking during a visit to Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, Mr Javid said: “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder.
“The new agency will be key in replicating this approach right across the country and will help us build a Britain fit for the future… Homes England will be at the heart of leading this effort.”
Of course, it remains to be seen how effectively Homes England tackles the housing crisis. However, title insurance will continue to play a significant role in this evolving market place. Titlesolv’s developer policy, accompanied by its web-based services, have been consistently proven to speed up transaction times and offset time lost through increased regulation.