As many old faces left and new faces joined the government’s all Conservative cabinet Brandon Lewis retained ministerial responsibility for planning and housing at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
There was some confusion when it was initially thought that Mark Francois MP, who was appointed as Minister of State at the DCLG, had been given the housing and planning briefs. It was later confirmed that Brandon Lewis would continue as Planning and Housing Minister.
It was good timing for Lewis who was then able to welcome new figures showing a surge in the numbers of new homes being built across the country.
Housebuilding figures showed that starts had more than doubled since those seen during the same period in 2009 – with both starts and completions rising over the past year.
The numbers of homes completed has also risen sharply, to their highest levels for nearly six years.
In the year to March, work started on 140,500 homes – 5 per cent higher than during the previous year.
Over 40,000 homes were started between January and March this year – 31 per cent higher than the same period in 2014, and 136 per cent higher than the same period in 2009. This means housing starts are at their highest level since 2007.
Speaking about the figures Brandon Lewis said:
“Housebuilding is at the heart of our plan to ensure the recovery reaches all parts of our country. We’re turning around an industry that was devastated and getting the country building again. Today’s figures show these efforts are reaping results, with housebuilding starts having more than doubled since 2009, and completions at their highest for nearly six years.
“It is vital we maintain this momentum, getting workers back on sites and homes built – giving more people the chance to own their own home.”
Although the reappointment of Brandon Lewis as Housing Minister will provide some continuity for the housing sector he will report to a new Communities and Local Government Secretary in Greg Clark MP, who replaced Eric Pickles in the cabinet reshuffle.
By David Mote, Editor