Timber Development UK was disappointed to hear that we lost another Minister of State for Housing last week.
Rachel Maclean MP has replaced Lucy Frazer MP, who lasted just 91 days in the job before her promotion to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The UK Housing Minister has turned into a merry-go-round position in recent years, with Ms Maclean the 14th Housing Minister in 10 years, and the sixth since 2020.
The position also appears to be a training ground, rather than a full-time occupation, for aspiring politicians who use the role as a steppingstone for more senior roles.
This political uncertainty is doing our industry no favours and does not offer a solution to a chronic housing shortage in the UK.
The UK’s housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges the country faces, with low supply and rising prices impacting families right across the country.
In the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto, the Government promised to build 300,000 new homes every year to match new demand. However, is currently way off these targets.
The Government’s failure to build houses also risks jeopardizing their flagship ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.
Housebuilding is an excellent opportunity to provide fiscal stimulus to towns and cities across the country, creating jobs, tax revenue and improvements to local infrastructure and communities. It also provides a secure path to ownership for a generation plagued by low ownership and high rent.
Our industry offers a useful tool for the Government in their quest to build houses and ‘level up’.
The timber supply chain is capable of producing an abundance of high-quality and low-carbon homes and boasts a developed and localised manufacturing base that is ripe for expansion throughout the UK.
However, to make genuine progress on housing, our industry requires long-term stability in policy, regulation, and standards and preferably a strong market environment to justify the large upfront investment in skills, capacity, and modern methods of construction (MMC).
This cannot be achieved if the ‘revolving door’ culture of housing ministers continues, with policy requiring long-term, sustainable solutions, not short-term sticking plasters.
TDUK will look to engage with the new minister in the coming weeks, and we hope Ms Maclean will break the curse and hold a significant term in office.