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Give Shapps Cabinet seat to drive housing policy

Shapps
Shapps: ‘Character like him in the Cabinet would be quite By Paul Thomas positive’

Industry figures have warned that housing policy is not a high priority for the coalition Government and called for housing minister Grant Shapps to have a position in the Cabinet.

Shapps, who has been the minister for housing and local government since May, was not made a member of the Cabinet but Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles is a Cabinet member.

Speaking at a Money Marketing mortgage round table last week, Coreco director Andrew Montlake said including Shapps in the Cabinet would have been a positive move for the sector.

He said: “I am surprised that Grant Shapps has had such a low profile. I would have thought a character like that would be quite positive.”
Council of Mortgage Lenders head of policy Jackie Bennett said: “Previous housing ministers have been on Cabinets. We really did not hear that much about housing at all.

“We do not quite know where we are going – we have not got a housing strategy, we have got an FSA that does not know what the mortgage market should look like. It makes it quite difficult to think of individual policies because you do not know where you are trying to go.”

Building Societies Association head of mortgage policy Paul Broadhead said: “Housing is so integral to the health of our economy – you almost need a housing ministry of its own if you are going to make a real difference. We just need a clear path of what is the strategy of this Parliament and at the moment the waters are very muddy.”

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  1. Grant Shapps recently said that affordable home ownership is ‘amazingly important’, but has yet to make an announcement about the future of the HomeBuy schemes. It seems, sadly, that the new government doesn’t give enough priority to the housing industry, and the current crisis in housing supply and mortgage supply. I agree that maintaining housing as a cabinet place would have given the issues a more central role, particuarly as the supply, availability and affordability of new homes is more important now than ever.

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