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Johnson makes Christopher Pincher new Housing Minister in Cabinet reshuffle

14 February 2020

Pincher becomes the 10th Housing Minister in 10 years and the fourth in three years. The average length of time in the role has been whittled down to just 14 months since 1997. McVey lasted just seven.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson made the first major changes to his Cabinet since the December election, and there were a number of high-profile reorganisations, not least Chancellor Sajid Javid resigning to be replaced by Rishi Sunak. However, in the world of planning, one reshuffle was of particular interest.

Christopher Pincher, 50, has replaced Ester McVey as the Minister of State for Housing, and while Johnson has stressed the importance of the role and building enough houses to meet demand, Pincher becomes the 10th Housing Minister in 10 years and the fourth in three years. The average length of time in the role has been whittled down to just 14 months since 1997. McVey lasted just seven.

Pincher was elected as the MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire in 2010 and has served intermittently in various Government positions, occupying the roles of Deputy Chief Whip (responsible for keeping the governing party’s MPs in line) and, more recently, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.

He has consistently campaigned against the construction of HS2, which is expected to travel via the outskirts of his constituency.

Replacing McVey as Housing Minister, it was also announced that he will not be given the same privileges as his predecessor, as the position of Housing Minister has been removed from the Cabinet attendee list.

His voting record in Parliament mirrors that of many in the Conservative Party. On housing issues specifically, he has voted to reduce housing benefit for social housing tenants, backed plans to phase out secure tenancies, and supported charging a market rent to high earners occupying a council home.

Commenting on the appointment, Royal Institute of British Architects president Alan Jones said: “As the 10th housing minister in 10 years, Christopher Pincher must get to work urgently to ensure the delivery of high-quality, safe and sustainable homes that create and support community cohesion.

“This means bringing an end to permitted development rules which allow developers to sidestep vital quality and environmental standards, and making urgent changes to fire safety regulations to ensure people are safe.

”Strong leadership is essential to meet the government’s ambitious housing targets and radically reduce the carbon emissions of the built environment to reach net zero by 2050.”

As a backbench MP, he has previously stated “One of the challenges – even though we have reformed planning, introduced Help to Buy, and are selling public land to private development – is the number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the development supply chain”.

Pincher encouraged the Government to persuade volume developers to franchise some of their land to smaller developers. He posed that this would reduce the risk for big developers as they would not have to take the risk of building the houses, and doing so would also aid smaller developers because the planning activity would have been undertaken at minimum cost, therefore getting more SMEs into the supply chain to meet Government housing targets.

Following this, he said “We also need a different mix of buildings.  I think we need more bungalows mixed into new housing developments so people can downsize in retirement but still stay at the heart of local communities.  That also means more larger homes can come onto the market – if older single people have nowhere to downsize to then all they can do is stay living in a home too big for them.”

For further insight on the impact of Pinch’s appointment, get in touch with our in-house communications team by emailing [email protected] or by calling 020 7397 5212.