Industry Left Perplexed as 20th Housing Minister Appointed in 23 Years

Stuart Andrew is the new housing minister
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stuart Andrew became the 20th housing minister in 23 years this week as industry groups questioned the “extraordinary” revolving door of MPs in the post.

The Pudsey MP replaced Christopher Pincher on Wednesday, who had served two years and had been the longest-serving housing minister for more than a decade.

Mr Andrew will now be tasked with overseeing the government’s planning reforms and meeting its target of building 300,000 homes a year. 

Delivering the Planning Bill is a key government objective this spring, but Michael Gove reportedly decided to re-think controversial reforms last autumn following opposition to a zonal planning system from Conservative MPs.

Mr Andrew, a former deputy chief whip in Whitehall, does not have a background in housing, although he is a Buy to Let landlord and owns a house in Leeds. He has previously opposed plans for 70,000 houses to be built on the green belt in Yorkshire. 

He also voted in 2016 to reject a proposed amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill requiring private landlords to make their homes 'fit for human habitation' in 2016.

Housing Minister Rotation Statistic “Sounds Made up”

Campaigners and industry groups have expressed their support for Mr Andrew, but some fear the revolving door of housing ministers will delay progress on homebuilding in the UK.

Simon Allford, president of RIBA, said the rotation of ministers was “extraordinary”, adding that he hoped Mr Andrew would “quickly get to grips with the very immediate and multifaceted housing crisis facing people up and down the country”.

Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Group, said: “Eleven in twelve years. It sounds like a made up statistic, but no, that really is the number of housing ministers there have been in a ridiculously short amount of time. Little wonder perhaps that major reform has been kicked to the curb.”

This sentiment was echoed by Russell Pedley, co-founder and director at Assael Architecture, who said: “While we welcome Stuart Andrew as housing minister in the recent Conservative reshuffle, we’re mindful that this appointment marks the eleventh MP to take the post since 2010. 

“Without a chapter defined by long-standing ministerial leadership, and with policy like the planning white paper which hasn’t stuck, we must be careful not to fall back to square one with every new rotation of the revolving door.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, welcomed Mr Andrew to his new role but warned of the scope of his remit. "We desperately need an engaged housing minister who understands the planning systems impact on levelling up, SME builders and the broader housing crisis.” 

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.