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First Speech From the New Housing Minister

Yesterday (8 June) Grant Shapps, the new Housing Minister, gave his first speech at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The speech, entitled ‘Age of Aspiration’, is primarily focused on reactivating the traditional Conservative aim of mass home ownership and how this might be encouraged.

Although it is not in the press release or the draft text it is reported that Mr Shapps stated that he was not in favour of heavy regulation of the Private Rented Sector and made clear that the national landlord’s register, a flagship proposal of the previous Government, was to be scrapped. He promised further responses to the suggestion made in the Rugg review soon. Mr Shapps did say that “We will deal with rogue landlords, but we won’t do that by penalising everybody.” It would seem, therefore, that some new legislation is on the cards but, given the new drive for localism, it is likely to involve handing more powers to local authorities to prosecute or control bad landlords in their areas rather than introducing new forms of centralised control.

The press release from the CLG can be found here while the draft text of the speech is available here.

4 Comments

  • Peter Smith 9th June 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I don’t know that your assumption about more powers going to local authorities is correct. The new Government wants to cut LA costs for one thing, and any extra powers will involve extra costs.

    Moreover, LA’s that remain in Labour, or even Lib-Dem, hands might be expected to carry on in the old heavy-handed manner, so an all-England strategy seems more likely. Wales and Scotland will be able to carry on in their own bizarre ways, presumably.

    I wonder if there is any chance the new bunch will drop the insistence that HLA is paid to private tenants rather than their landlords?

    • PainSmith 9th June 2010 at 9:46 pm

      The new coalition Government has been very clear about their desire to devolve more powers in relation to planning and other similar matter to local authorities. Notably they are also clear that they will not be giving local authorities any more money to assist in this. However, we will see how it pans out.
      Given David Cameron’s speech on Wednesday it is likely that LHA will be cut across the board and the chance of making large profits from this area will disappear for private sector landlords.

  • Jason Silverman 10th June 2010 at 10:05 am

    Sorry to be a pedant, but after being corrected by a surveyor years ago who explained to me that surveyors are to be found in an Institution I have never made the mistake again!

    • PainSmith 10th June 2010 at 12:30 pm

      Apologies to all surveyors and other RICS members. It is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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