New Housing and Justice Secretaries in Theresa May’s Cabinet
Gavin Barwell has been made housing minister, replacing Brandon Lewis. Barwell is now minister of state for housing and planning.
As well as housing, the MP for Croydon Central is now also minister for London at the Department for Communities and Local Government, under new DCLG minister Sajid Javid.
Brandon Lewis is now minister of state for policing and the fire service.
Barwell now faces what to do with the government’s pledge to build 200,000 homes per year until 2020, after a Lords committee stated 300,000 were needed. Last year, around 150,000 were built.
David Cox, managing director of ARLA, and Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said: “We would like to congratulate Gavin on his new appointment and welcome him to his new role. This is a crucial time for housing, with demand greatly outstripping supply and an urgent need to reshape Britain’s housing mix. We worked closely with the previous administration to increase transparency in the UK property and sector and remain very supportive of the need for a beneficial ownership register. Property transparency is particularly a problem in London where housing stock has increasingly become a vehicle for money laundering operations, so we applaud the decision to provide the Minister with a duel oversight for London.
“Despite this, Gavin will have a lot on his in-tray and a number of key concerns still exist in the sector. The Government’s decision to sell the Land Registry risks reversing its good work on transparency and we call on the new minister to work with the new Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department to think again on this proposal. Secondly, it is also essential that Gavin honours the commitment of his predecessor to bring forward a review of the need for mandatory Client Money Protection (CMP) for letting agents, following the discretionary powers that were brought in as part of the Housing and Planning Act. Only this can provide the adequate level of protection for landlords and tenants alike.
“These challenges are not insurmountable and we greatly look forward to working with the new Minister to find a solution to these issues in the months and years ahead.”
Former Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Liz Truss MP has also become the first woman to be Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
Law Society CEO Catherine Dixon said: “Liz Truss is the first woman to hold the post of Lord Chancellor. We welcome her appointment and look forward to working with her as we have with her predecessors. This is a moment of significant change for the country and we are particularly focused on access to justice and that ensuring people’s rights are safeguarded.
“The legal sector contributes £25.7bn to our economy creating more than 370,000 jobs. We are calling on the government to safeguard the ability of lawyers to practice across the EU and other issues such as extradition rights which protect the interests of justice and safeguard our citizens
“The law of England and Wales is and will continue to be used across the globe as the gold standard and England and Wales is the premier jurisdiction of choice irrespective of whether we are in the EU.”