Housing demoted, Kris Hopkins is new minister
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing
Kris Hopkins is effectively the new housing minister, a Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) spokesperson has confirmed to 24housing.
Amid widespread confusion and seemingly more delays than Fergie time with United losing 2-0, the Tory MP for Keighley will take on the job, albeit as a junior minister in the CLG after Mark Prisk (photo) was fired on Monday.
Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, also has housing responsibilities according to the CLG.
Both Williams, 47 on Friday, and Hopkins, 50, hold the post of parliamentary under-secretary of state in the CLG. Prisk was a level higher in the same department as minister of state.
National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: "We’re surprised and disappointed that, given the scale of the housing crisis and how crucial housing is to the country’s long-term economic recovery, the government has decided that the housing brief should be taken up at an under-secretary of state rather than minister of state level.”
The Chartered Institute of Housing said: "We welcome Kris Hopkins to his new post and look forward to working with him to help come up with solutions to our national housing crisis. However, we are very concerned that the housing portfolio appears to have been demoted to a more junior ministerial post. On the day that Help to Buy phase two is launched, the government appears to be sending mixed messages on the importance of housing to our economic recovery.”
Orr welcomed Hopkins' appointment.
"As somebody who has been involved with and understands housing and housing associations, he can make a real difference and help deliver the homes we desperately need," Orr said. "We look forward to working closely with him to put housing on top of the political agenda."
Hopkins, a former member of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, is responsible for housing, local growth, cities and regeneration, Thames Gateway and planning policy and casework in relation to wind farms.
Williams, a former tax consultant, is responsible for localism, decentralisation and community rights, building regulations and standards, empty homes and climate change and sustainable development.
At Westminster, Hopkins appears not to be universally loved. Controversial lawmaker Nadine Dorries tweeted that he was one of parliament's "nastiest, slimiest MPs," comments she later withdrew. Other MPs have defended Hopkins.
Prisk was fired after only 13 months as housing minister. Orr called Prisk “a rational and thoughtful man who as housing minister was doing his best in a difficult economic climate".
Catalyst chief executive Rod Cahill said Prisk "proved to be a competent, thoughtful and listening minister ... we look forward to working with the new minister to help ensure that the people of Britain get the housing they deserve”.
The 51-year-old Prisk, a chartered surveyor by profession, was often criticised in the media for keeping his head down and 'avoiding' interviews: 24housing, perhaps unkindly, said he made Lord Lucan seem high profile. But the curious PR strategy to keep out of the headlines steadily backfired as housing became an increasingly controversial issue ahead of the 2015 general election.
The Tory MP for Hertford and Stortford announced his own firing in a tweet: "Been asked to step aside from Housing for a younger generation. Disappointing but it's been a great eleven years on frontbencher."