Former local government minister Brandon Lewis has been assigned the roles of housing and planning minister, becoming the first minister to hold the responsibility of both these closely linked areas since Labour MP Margaret Beckett in 2009. Previously, they were split between two different ministers (the latest ones being Kris Hopkins and Nick Boles). It is hoped that uniting the two will result in policy alignment and lead to faster housebuilding rates.
The housing and planning portfolios themselves have, in a sense, also been promoted. Brandon Lewis is a full minister of state, unlike his predecessors, who were both under-secretaries of state. While they worked lower down the ladder from communities secretary Eric Pickles, Brandon Lewis will benefit from working much closer with the secretary of state and have greater say over policy.
The lettings industry has welcomed the new appointment. It is expected that he will have a greater insight and appreciation for the needs of the private rented sector, given that he has himself been a private landlord.
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