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News | Published August 28 2019

Cabinet Review: Robert Jenrick

Following the recent appointment of Boris Johnson's cabinet, we have launched a series of articles to assess how each sector views their new Secretary of State. Our fourth instalment focuses on Robert Jenrick, the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

To gauge the opinion of the sector, we spoke to Alex McCuaig, Chairman of Met Studio Design Limited and Steve French, CEO of Taylor French Developments

1. Do you think that Robert Jenrick is a good choice for Housing, Communities and Local Government?

Alex McCuaig: As he has no identifiable track record in government, it is difficult to say. 

Having said this, in my view, his appointment to the post devalues what should be a really important ministerial job which requires a champion to lead a much-needed shift in government policy. 

I am not sure Jenrick has the experience necessary to appreciate the plight of the people in our community who are in desperate need of accommodation and the security and peace of mind this brings.

I am not sure Jenrick has the experience necessary to appreciate the plight of the people in our community who are in desperate need of accommodation and the security and peace of mind this brings.

2. Do you think the department has done a good job in recent years?

Steve French: In my view, no. The planning system has become more cumbersome and slower and it now takes longer to receive a planning decision. 

These constraints make it even more difficult to achieve planning consent, all of which restricts and slows housing delivery.

Alex McCuaig: No. His predecessors have created a very difficult environment for him to enter because they have been hellbent on selling off more houses than they can actually build to fill the void. 

Boris's current strategy, if he persists with it, will only exasperate an already bad situation. 

The planning system has become more cumbersome and slower and it now takes longer to receive a planning decision. These constraints make it even more difficult to achieve planning consent, all of which restricts and slows housing delivery.

3. What areas would you like Jenrick to focus on in his new role?

Steve French: Government must increase the quantity of affordable housing that is delivered annually through local authorities and regional providers. 

In order to achieve this, they ought to set these bodies targets to achieve and offer additional funding grants to those who meet them. 

Beyond this, they should make achieving planning for 100 per cent affordable schemes easier than for open market sale schemes delivered by for-profit developers. 

In order to achieve this, they ought to set these bodies targets to achieve and offer additional funding grants to those who meet them. 

 


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Authored by

The Parliamentary Review

@theparlreview
August 28 2019

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