Warsi signs off as Tory Chair as Shapps set for new role
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
Warsi signs off as Tory Chair as Shapps set for promotion
The housing minister Grant Shapps is widely tipped to be confirmed as the new co-chairman of the Conservative Party this morning, replacing Sayeeda Warsi.
According to the Huffington Post, the job has been offered to Shapps with Warsi offered the role of a junior Foreign Office minister with a seat at the Cabinet table, which she is yet to accept.
Warsi said on Twitter: "It's been a privilege and an honour to serve my party as co-chairman, signing off @ToryChairman , signing on @sayeedawarsi."
Mr Shapps, MP for Welwyn and Hatfield, was hotly tipped for promotion by political commentators and is seen by the Prime Minister as one of the party's rising stars.
Since being appointed housing minister in May 2010 - after shadowing the position for three years prior - Mr Shapps has wasted no time ensuring the sector plays its part in the Government's deficit reduction strategy, while challenging existing conventions such as tenancies for life and allocations.
In particular, reforms to roll-back state-funding in housebuilding, which will see housing associations increase rents to fund new supply, have been greeted with caution.
While announcing the programme will help deliver 170,000 new homes by 2015, experts note the policy will impact negatively on the housing benefit bill and has caused disagreements between councils and housing associations over affordability in local areas.
However, it is his use of provocative rhetoric that has soured his relationship with the sector, claiming for years “social housing has been associated with injustice - where rewards are reaped for those who know how to play the system the best”.
Recent comments suggesting social housing should be rebranded as taxpayer-funded housing has also come in for criticism from those that argue it would further stigmatise the sector.
In a candid press briefing to the trade press ahead of his keynote speech at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester earlier this year Shapps said he still views himself as an outsider to the sector but that that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
He said: “I think the sector thinks of me as an outsider. But actually, in the same way that it’s fantastic for delegates here to have people from outside come along and challenge the industry about its future, I think it’s quite useful to have a minister who isn’t just from the sector and therefore accepting of everything. I always thought that we could be better and greater and more innovative as a sector and actually that’s what happened.”