Dominic Raab appointed as seventh housing minister since 2010

Theresa May has today announced that Dominic Raab has become the new housing minister and replaces Alok Sharma, who had only been in the post for just over six months.

Raab is now the minister of state for housing at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Rabb’s move to the housing brief is a sideways move, having previously been a minister of state in the justice department. It’s been noted that Rabb has no experience in the housing sector and is the third housing minister in 18 months since May became prime minister, the seventh since 2010 and the 15th housing minister in the last 17 years. 

Raab replaces Sharma, who was appointed as housing minister in June 2016, replacing Gavin Barwell. Sharma will now take the role of minister of state for employment at the DWP. The forming housing chief was thrust into the deep end just days into his tenure when the Grenfell Tower tragedy happened in June. His departure and successor today has received extra attention after the prime minister earmarked fixing the UK’s broken housing market as one of her key priorities back in November 2017. 

The Chartered Institute of Housing has welcomed Rabb’s appointment. CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “We congratulate Dominic Raab on becoming the new housing minister and we look forward to working with him. We hope that the very valuable work Alok Sharma has been doing, including his work travelling around the country to consult with tenants, continues. Given the very serious housing challenges our nation faces we also now hope for continuity in this crucial role.”

Other industry figures have criticised the frequent changes in housing minister which make it harder to guarantee certainty. Brian Berry, Federation of Master Builders chief executive, said: “Once again we have a new housing minister, which doesn’t really help build the continuity and greater certainty that the sector needs. However, Dominic Raab is an able and influential Conservative MP who we hope will bring a new energy and focus to the brief. We welcome him to the role and look forward to working with him. We hope that his focus will be on continuing to develop and implement a range of good sound policies which have already been set out by government in the housing white paper and other statements. And we hope that he will be given longer to take housing policy forward than too many recent housing ministers.”

The prime minister has officially added ‘housing’ to the job title of communities secretary Sajid Javid, thereby making specific responsibility for housing a named ministerial role for many years. While it undoubtedly highlights the importance Theresa May is placing on housing, many have argued there is a lot more needed to see improvements in housing than just a simple augmentation to a minister's job title.

Elsewhere, Chris Grayling remains transport secretary and not chair of the Conservative Party, which many believed would happen following an accidental tweet from the Conservative's twitter account announcing the change, which was swiftly deleted.  Greg Clark, also retains his retains his role as secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy responsible for ensuring the government's industrial strategy continues to put infrastructure at the heart of policy going forward.

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