Another Housing Minister is announced!

publication date: May 20, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Another Housing Minister is announced!

Over the last ten years, we have had nine different housing ministers, eight under Labour, three of which were appointed in one year. Now, according to the new government, the role of Housing Minister - Grant Shapps (Conservative) has been announced and sadly its importance downgraded as it not even a cabinet post.

To find out more about Mr Shapps you can visit Welwyn Hatfield which is the area he looks after. However a quick potted history is - born in Hertfordshire in 1968 (making him 42 in 2010) and his background is a setting up a successful print shop, which is now a big business that he remains Chairman of. He is married with two kids and holds a pilot's licence.

The news is that Mr Shapps elected NOT to have a second home is good from an expenses perspective, but be wary those of you who do have more than one home as it seems one of his first jobs will be to raise Capital Gains Tax. Rumour is that CGT will go back to the old rate of 40% in the next budget announcement at the end of June. Mr Shapps has written a series of reports from homelessness to building new homes which can be accessed via the web.

Mr Shapps' policies at the election were to:-

  • Scrap HIPs
  • Hand back approval of planning applications to local communities
  • Permanently increase the stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers to £250,000 – although this has already been implemented by Labour! 
  • Allow councils to receive money from council tax and business rates from new developments to help fund more homes
  • Encourage affordable home building via newly created local housing trusts 
  • Give council tenants an equity stake in their home to restore pride in their area and encourage social mobility. Is this back to selling off council homes again?

The Big Housing Question!
Will Mr Shapps cause a shortage of supply of properties due to massive cuts in spending, helping to fuel further property price increases or will he manage to encourage the private sector to build, build and build more homes?

Mr Shapps’ First Job
Apparently his boss: Mr Eric Pickles, has asked the new housing minister to review the current government schemes to support people struggling to pay their mortgage – is this to help them further or look to see where cuts in government spending could be made?

Watch this space ........... we’ll be monitoring the new housing minister from now to see if he actually:-

  1. Delivers on the policies he’s committed to
  2. Has a positive impact on housing in the UK
  3. Addresses the key issues of supply, affordability, offering people a choice of where they live, be they in the social or private sector

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