As the new UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has chosen his cabinet, we look at what this new-look government means for the property and construction industry. 

DEPT. FOR HOUSING

Firstly, there are two new appointments to note at the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Robert Jenrick replaces James Brokenshire as Secretary of State, while Esther McVey takes over from Kit Malthouse as the ninth Housing Minister in nine years.

On his new role, Jenrick commented that he would be “working with the team to build more homes, level up the regions and share prosperity and opportunity throughout the UK.” Could this mean we see a shifting of focus away from London?

Esther McVey is a more controversial appointment, having played her part in introducing Universal Credit and the “bedroom tax”. Her views on housing are as yet unknown.

BORIS JOHNSON 

On Boris Johnson as leader, Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: “We welcome Boris Johnson as the UK’s next prime minister – and the property sector stands ready to work with his government, building on the announcement yesterday of a Built Environment Sector Deal."

She also called for “an orderly Brexit [and that] the UK must remain open, with the right conditions for investment and trade.” 

BREXIT 

Steven Norris, Soho Estates Chairman was positive on Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance, telling Bisnow that “Whatever Boris does, we are now in the last phase of uncertainty, that phase of being neither in nor out of Europe. It will release a lot of the pent-up energy for commercial property in the UK.”

Norris said he believes a Johnson government would implement the kind of business-friendly policies that typically benefit commercial property.

President of RIBA, Ben Derbyshire was not as optimistic, saying: “If Boris delivers his threatened no-deal Brexit it would be a disaster for the development industry and homebuilding especially, with massive disruption to finance, the supply chain and movement of labour.”

However, he has hope that as Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers will “make something of the proposed New Homes Standard, which needs to be a new zero-carbon standard for all homes, not just new ones.”

HOUSING TARGETS

Outside of Brexit, Grainne Gilmore, Head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank, addressed the fact that nearly half of Local Authorities are set to miss their housing targets but said: “The new prime minister has made no secret of his desire to reform stamp duty. Such a move would help unlock some parts of the market where the fees to buy a new home have escalated rapidly in recent years.” 

What are your thoughts on the new PM and his cabinet, how do you think this will affect the industry? Please share in the comments below.

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