Gove appointed housing secretary as Jenrick booted out

Gove appointed housing secretary as Jenrick booted out

Michael Gove has replaced housing secretary Robert Jenrick as part of the latest cabinet reshuffle.

In a tweet confirming the news, Jenrick said: “It’s been a huge privilege to serve as secretary of state. Thank you to everyone at the department for their hard work, dedication and friendship. I’m deeply proud of all we achieved.

“I will continue to support the prime minister and the government in every way I can.”

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The 39-year-old former Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government was the youngest to join the cabinet back in July 2019, upon Boris Johnson’s arrival to 10 Downing Street.

Gove takes up Jenrick's role after serving as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Various trade and public bodies have welcomed Gove to the post.

The National Residential Landlords Association said a key part of his role will "be addressing the supply crisis", whilst the Local Government Association said he will need to "ensure councils are backed with the resources and freedoms they need to build back local from the pandemic".

Jenrick's tenure at MHCLG began two years after the Grenfell Tower fire and he has faced a number of challenges throughout concerning trapped leaseholders due to the ensuing cladding crisis.

Multiple industry sources had accused Jenrick’s department of failing to update its guidance on cladding requirements in line with those of other industry bodies, causing “confusion” and fuelling “disproportionate approaches” to risk by lenders.

As long as lenders remain cautious, as many as 2m leaseholders will remain trapped in homes they want to sell or rent out, due to the uncertainty around who will pay to replace the cladding.

Jenrick’s department attempted to curb growing issues by U-turning on its cladding rules in July to take away the need for EWS1 forms - though FTAdviser understands lenders are still using them as justification to reject mortgage applications.

Earlier this year, Jenrick’s department also announced it would pay for the removal of unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in high-rise buildings - that is, those over 18m.

But many have said the size of the funds allocated won’t be enough. 

As well as overseeing the cladding crisis, during his tenure Jenrick also committed funds to more affordable housing amidst a growing lack of supply versus demand which is driving up house prices.

In April, he launched a Help to Build Scheme in a bid to make it easier and more affordable for people to build their own home. And last month, he announced an £8.6bn funding package to increase affordable housing stock in an effort to make the UK housing market more accessible to first-time buyers.