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New Housing Minister: Gavin Barwell

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Not looking promising...

Housing appears to have a disappointingly low priority in the new Theresa May-led Cabinet - at least judging from the time it has taken to nominate a new housing minister.

Brandon Lewis, the respected and well-liked Conservative MP who held the housing portfolio for two years from mid-July 2014, was on Friday told he would be moving to become a minister at the Home Office - seen by most onlookers as a promotion.

However, no successor as housing minister was named on Friday - nor indeed on Saturday, even though a raft of other ministerial positions were announced by May.

Eventually overnight into Sunday it was revealed that Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell had been made housing minister - and, at the same time, minister for London. Barwell is a former parliamentary private secretary to Greg Clark, former Communities Secretary.

“Hugely honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minister to serve as Minister of State for Housing & Planning and Minister for London” tweeted Barwell on Sunday morning, before adding: “Look forward to working with councils, housing associations, developers and investors to ensure we build the homes people need and deserve.”

Social media yesterday gave Barwell a critical welcome into his post.

On Twitter, an analyst from respected journal Estates Gazette recalled Barwell’s voting record on related issues. These include allegedly voting against reforms to the housebuilding industry to boost housing output, against measures to tackle land-banking, against councils retaining payments in respect of vacant high-value council homes, and against clearer information on letting agencies’ fees and the promotion of longer tenancies.

Barwell’s website reveals him to be a near life-long Croydon resident, aside from when he studied natural sciences at Cambridge. Before becoming an MP in 2010, Barwell worked for the Conservative Party and served as a Tory councillor for 12 years. He is married to an NHS language therapist based in Croydon, and has three young sons.

The housing minister’s position - which has never been given full Cabinet status by Labour or Conservative administrations in modern times - has had a chequered history.

Brandon Lewis’s predecessor as Tory housing minister in the then-Coalition government was the little-known Kris Hopkins. Before that came the much more popular Mark Prisk, a former surveyor employed by Knight Frank - but he was only in post for 13 months. His predecessor was the extremely high-profile Grant Shapps who held the post for the first two years of the Coalition after being Tory shadow housing minister before that.

Labour was no better at keeping housing ministers for long - an indication, according to many in the property industry, that politicians actually held the issue in low esteem despite often making speeches to the contrary.

The final housing minister of the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown premierships was the authoritative John Healey - shadow housing minister in recent months until playing a part in the orchestrated mass resignations in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Before Healey, when Labour was in government, came Margaret Beckett whose nine months as housing minister was seen as the swansong of her ministerial career. She was preceded by Caroline Flint, Yvette Cooper, Keith Hill and Jeff Rooker. None held the post for more than two years, and most for much shorter periods.

https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/7/brexit-focussed-cabinet-has-no-space-for-new-housing-minister#comments

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Nope. Not good for housing / HPC.

He has previous :

https://insidecroydon.com/2014/04/28/poll-should-mp-barwell-resign-to-avoid-conflicts-of-interest/

Although he did resign under pressure the year after.

Currently, from Wiki:

Allegations of electoral fraud

In May 2016, a member of the public complained to the Metropolitan Police Service over possible electoral fraud in Barwell's 2015 election campaign.[23] The claims relate to the number of leaflets Barwell delivered in his constituency, as undelivered election material does not fall under the election spending limit.[24]
Barwell denies the claims, saying he followed 'proper process' when filing the election expenses.[23] The Police investigation is ongoing.

No idea if he has BTL's, but wouldn't be surprised. He's been a SPAD for the Tories then MP etc since he left Uni.

Never had a real job in his entire life. Another drone............

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Meh, the role is just a figurehead. Doesn't matter which way he waves his willy in the face of the market, he's not going to be able to do anything to influence it whichever way it goes.

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"EA Today" might be hoping for a HPC of sorts to get churn/increase the transactions for their EAs. Maybe they see this MP as contunuing with same failed policies that are killing transactions? Just a thought.

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"EA Today" might be hoping for a HPC of sorts to get churn/increase the transactions for their EAs. Maybe they see this MP as contunuing with same failed policies that are killing transactions? Just a thought.

On a brighter note, I have spoken to him about housing issues (in general) a couple of times and gained the impression that he is no fan of BTL or amateur landlords.

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Gavin Barwell is a nice guy.Unlikely to rock the boat given his long record of service at CCO or whatever they call it these days.Given our govt exists primarily to serve the financial interests of Londinium,I wouldn't expect much change from him.

Brexit on the other hand...................................

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Theresa May at the Home Office achieved record numbers of migrants and Brandon Lewis at Housing set almost record lows of new homes built - despite the election manifesto(s).

Both seem to have been a waste of space and wages in terms of things achieved relative to what the electorate appeared to vote for - yet both promoted.

Get a Brexit vote and get a Bremain leader and Bremain Chancellor after the original Bremain leader and Bremain Chancellor resigned and was sacked repectively.

It just goes on and on.

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New housing minister opposes homes scheme in his own constituency

It has been revealed that the new housing minister, Gavin Barwell, appears to be campaigning to oppose a new housing scheme in his constituency.

Over the weekend Barwell - appointed to take over from Brandon Lewis, who has been promoted to a job at the Home Office - tweeted that he was “Hugely honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minister to serve as Minister of State for Housing & Planning and Minister for London” adding in a subsequent tweet “Look forward to working with councils, housing associations, developers and investors to ensure we build the homes people need and deserve.”

However, the Inside Housing industry publication has spotted on Barwell’s own website what appears to be contradictory sentiments when it comes to a Persimmon scheme proposed within his own constituency of Croydon Central.

Along with a video, Barwell has written: “The green fields at the bottom of Gravel Hill between the Addington Interchange and Huntingfield/Falconwood Road are under threat again. This time it’s from housing rather than a supermarket. Developer Persimmon has added the land to its list of potential sites after decision it has a chance of getting planning permission from our Labour Council. I’ve teamed up with the local residents’ association to try to protect this precious green space.”

Meanwhile in his first full statement since being invited to be housing minister, Barwell says: “Too many people are having to live in overcrowded or even unsafe conditions. Too many people don't have a permanent place to call home. Too many people are having to pay too much of their monthly earnings on their housing costs. And - as the Prime Minister said in her moving speech outside Downing Street on Wednesday night - too many people who want the independence of owning their own home currently can't afford to do so.

"I look forward to working with councils, housing associations, developers, investors and local communities to make sure we build we need with the mix of tenures that people want and that those homes should be great places to live.”

https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/7/new-housing-minister-opposes-persimmon-scheme-in-his-own-constituency

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A true MP!

Bingo. Says whatever it is the electorate wants to hear at the time, swaying whichever way the wind blows and sits on his/her ar*e waiting until such time that action truly has to be taken. All the while reaping in 70k + expenses.

Good to see that Natural sciences tripos degree being put to such sterling use.

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