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Shapps named as new housing minister

Grant Shapps, the former shadow housing minister when the Tories were in opposition, has been appointed as the coalition Government’s new housing minister.

His is not a cabinet appointment, but his boss, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has already attended his first cabinet meeting.

 Shapps will come under immediate pressure to scrap HIPs firmly and quickly, in ‘petrol price rise’ fashion – in the way that prices at the pump go up at midnight on the day that a Budget announces tax rises. He has already announced on Twitter that HIPs will definitely be scrapped.

He will also come under pressure to help force through an urgent repeal of the planning class changes which were rushed through last month.These mean that anyone – landlord or home owner – wanting to let out, or share, their property with between two and six unrelated people must apply for planning permission to turn the property into a House in Multiple Occupation.

Shapps will also have to look at some other burning issues – new house building, which is way behind target; zero-carbon homes and other green initiatives; pressures and regulation within the private rented sector; licensing (or not) of estate agents; and much more.

Shapps notably takes his place as housing minister in a government that is pledged to last for five years. In the last Labour government, housing ministers had the fastest churn of any ministers: nine over the 13 years.

We congratulate Shapps on his appointment. He worked hard during his spell as shadow housing minister, and we trust we won't see a repeat of Labour's revolving doors.After all, who remembers Keith Hill?


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