The new line-up at the Housing Ministry needs to do some swotting over the summer, suggests Julia Park
There was never any doubt that Brexit would devour government time but the scale of the domestic policy voids that are opening up in all the key areas – health, housing, social care, education, the prison service – as a result of this particular strain of attention deficit disorder are worse than we might have feared.
Last November, the then communities secretary Sajid Javid promised a root and branch review of social housing. The Green Paper, promised in “the spring”, has yet to materialise. Javid has already moved on: sign-off will now rest with his successor, James Brokenshire, and Kit Malthouse, the new housing minister.
Brokenshire has made his first bold move by threatening to intervene if the London mayor can’t “radically improve” his London Plan. Warning in a letter that the capital’s new homes target is too low, Brokenshire “reminded” Khan of his powers as secretary of state to direct a review to ensure a renewed housing plan is delivered. This ups the ante over the fact that average house prices in the capital are an “unacceptable” 12 times more than average earnings – compared with an England-wide ratio of less than eight and “far more than what an individual can typically expect to borrow for a mortgage”.
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