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James Brokenshire’s Appointment

Monday 30 April 2018

In a shock reshuffle following the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, has replaced Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government.

After 18 months in the job, Sajid Javid MP has taken over the post of Home Secretary, and former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire MP has returned to the cabinet to succeed Javid as the new Housing and Communities Secretary.

Having previously worked on the Right-to-Rent initiative and being a private landlord himself, Tory MP Brokenshire is no stranger to the housing sector.

From 2006 he spent four years as Shadow Home Affairs Minister, before moving to the position of Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Home Office for a further four years. In 2014 he was appointed as Minister for Security and Immigration, before taking on the role of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 2016. James stepped down from that post in early 2018 due to health concerns.

After a four month recovery period, Brokenshire's return was much anticipated, and as an ally of the Prime Minister, his come back could see housing and other issues under his remit climb a little higher up the list of priorities for Mrs May in the future.

So what can we expect? Well, as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Minister is responsible for the overall leadership and strategic direction of the department. His brief includes a raft of key environmental policies and he is likely to face calls to reintroduce zero carbon home standards for new properties, beef up enforcement of existing energy efficiency standards, and work more closely with councils and local authorities to roll out more effective waste and air quality strategies.

The department has a key role to play in delivering the EU's latest energy efficiency directive and supporting Defra's work to improve air quality and tackle stalled recycling rates and plastic waste.

Brokenshire will also be asked to referee the increasingly intense debate over whether or not the UK should allow greater building on the green belt and will face mounting calls for the government to rethink stringent planning rules for onshore renewables projects.

Whilst the Minister has remained pretty tight lipped on housing issues in the past, he expressed his support for George Osborne’s stamp duty reforms and Help to Buy figures back in 2014, and praised measures as part of Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement which “addressed the fact that for too many, the goal of homeownership remains out of reach.” 

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive NAEA Propertymark and David Cox, Chief Executive ARLA Propertymark welcome James Brokenshire’s appointment to Housing Secretary:

“We welcome James Brokenshire into his new role as Housing Secretary, following Sajid Javid’s move to Home Secretary. Over the last 12 months, housing has been high on the political agenda, with Sajid Javid and his team working closely with the industry to make qualifications for property professionals compulsory, and ultimately make the process of buying, selling, renting or leasing a property better for consumers. We look forward to meeting the new Minister and working with him and his team over the coming months and hope the Department’s position and policy focus stays on track.”