When Rachel Maclean became the new Housing Minister earlier this year, it prompted a lot of dissension as she was the sixth person in a year to have held the role.
While the previous incumbents of the position have barely had time to let the ink dry on their contract, it is hoped that Ms Maclean will stay long enough to address some of the issues facing the UK’s housing sector.
With the Government’s commitment to building 300,000 new homes per year by 2025, it is clear that there is a need for change, and Ms Maclean’s appointment is a step in the right direction.
So, what can the sector expect from the new Housing Minister?
Firstly, it is likely that Ms Maclean will continue the work of her predecessors in developing the Government’s ambitious housing plans. The focus on building more affordable housing, especially for first-time buyers, is expected to continue. The UK has been facing a chronic shortage of affordable homes for years, and the pandemic has only made the situation worse.
There may also be a focus on sustainable housing, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of new homes and meeting the UK’s net-zero emissions target by 2050.
Ms Maclean, who previously worked in the Ministry of Justice, is also likely to focus on the need to address the housing crisis. This includes increasing the supply of new homes and ensuring that those who need housing can access it. To achieve this, the Government may introduce measures to encourage more private investment in the housing sector, such as tax incentives for developers who build affordable homes.
An MP since 2017, Ms Maclean may look at ways to improve the quality of the UK’s existing housing stock. This includes addressing issues such as damp, mould and poor insulation, which can affect the health and well-being of residents. The Government could introduce new regulations to ensure that new homes are built to a higher standard, with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
Also on the agenda for Ms Maclean is the issue of homelessness in the UK. Steps she may take include increasing the availability of affordable housing for those who are currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. There could also be a focus on supporting those with mental health and addiction issues, who are at a higher risk of becoming homeless.
Overall, there is a sense of optimism in the housing sector with the appointment of Ms Maclean. While there are many challenges to overcome, there is a clear commitment from the Government to address the housing crisis and build a better future for all. By continuing to focus on affordable, sustainable and high-quality housing, we can ensure that everyone in the UK has a place to call home.
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Dean Williamson MRICS