3rd June 2019

What does the next Prime Minister have to offer the housing industry?

There’s nothing quite like a major leadership contest to add an extra layer of excitement into Housing! 

Few could have predicted that Housing 2019 would coincide with the search for a new Prime Minister. Theresa May made housing one of her key priorities during her term so what do her potential replacements have to offer our industry? H+H takes a look…

Boris Johnson – Johnson is the most high-profile candidate (and current favourite to win), however he is unlikely to be good news for the industry. He has spoken out strongly against social housing in the past and during his tenure as Mayor of London, the levels of affordable housing stock fell to its lowest rate since the 1990s. 

Michael Gove – Another likely contender for the job of the next Prime Minister is former shadow housing minister Michael Gove. At the time, he was against extending the Right to Buy to housing associations for fear it would harm the sector, but he has since performed a U-turn and now supports the policy which is currently being trialled in the Midlands. During his last recent bid to become Tory party leader, Gove called for “hundreds of thousands” of new homes for private and social rent – likely to win over the housing industry this time around.  

Kit Malthouse – The current Housing Minister has put housing back on the agenda (at least when Brexit is not on the table) and started a debate on the design of new housing. He has shown he is willing to take the role of Housing Minister seriously but could running for PM prove a distraction from the day job? 

Sajid Javid – Javid is probably the most experienced candidate when it comes to housing. He released the 2017 Housing White Paper during his tenure which unlocked more cash for councils to build new homes. He has also been critical of so-called “land banking” and urged private housing developers to build faster. 

Dominic Raab – Dominic Raab served as Housing minister but you might not remember him – he served for just six months before moving on to Brexit secretary. Despite his short time in office, he managed to make several controversial remarks on immigration and housing. He is unlikely to curry favour with the housing industry but could prove popular both with his colleagues and the party membership. 

Rory Stewart – A surprise hit during the leadership contest so far is Rory Stewart, currently International Development Secretary. A staunch Remainer, he is unlikely to reach the final two contenders, but could announcing some housing policies on his high-profile social media campaign shape the debate? 

Andrea Leadsom – Leadsom might have been Leader of the House of Commons, however she does not yet have the backing of many of her fellow MPs. Could it be because she has said very little on housing issues during her time in parliament? 

Jeremy Hunt – Despite a high profile as Health secretary, Hunt has revealed very little when it comes to housing policy. However, he did “forget” to declare the purchase of seven luxury flats in Southampton to the MPs’ standards watchdog…

Esther McVey – The former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey was one of the main proponents of Universal Credit which has not endeared herself to the social housing sector. An ardent Remainer, she is unlikely to be able to convince her colleagues that she will deliver Brexit.Matt Hancock – The Health and Social Care secretary has also thrown his hat into the ring to be the next Prime Minister. This means the long-awaited Social Care Green Paper (likely to have significant implications for housing) will likely be delayed again until at least the autumn. Will he give away some teasers before then? 

Mark Harper – Chief Whip Mark Harper admits he is an underdog in the race. He was forced resign as Immigration Minister in 2014 and has a lukewarm approach to building new housing, arguing that there is not a national housing crisis but employers should do more to help young people get on the housing ladder. 

Sam Gymiah - Sam Gymiah is the latest candidate to join the race - and the first to declare his support for a second referendum on Brexit. A former Universities minister, he resigned over Theresa May's handling of Brexit so it's clearly an issue that will be at the heart of his campaign but are his views out of step with his colleagues' and the party membership?