The UK is set to have its seventh housing minister in under two years as Rachel Maclean has been sacked after nine months in the job.
On Monday afternoon (13 November) Maclean said on X, formerly Twitter, that she was “disappointed” that she had been asked to step down as housing minister as part of prime minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle.
She said she had been “looking forward to introducing the Renter Reform Bill to committee tomorrow and later the Leasehold and Freehold Bill”, adding: “It has been a privilege to hold the position and I wish my successor well”.
I want to thank everyone in @luhc who it has been a huge pleasure to work with as well as all those who have given their time, commitment and energy to work with me and inform policy on this vital agenda. I will never lose my passion for housing and planning.
— Rachel Maclean MP (@redditchrachel) November 13, 2023
Maclean, the MP for Redditch, was appointed in February, becoming the 15th housing minister since the Conservative Party came to power in 2010.
Maclean has been the longest-serving housing minister since Christopher Pincher, who left the role in February 2022 after just under two years. She served for longer than each of the past four housing ministers: Lucy Frazer, Lee Rowley, Marcus Jones and Stuart Andrew.
It is not yet known whether Michael Gove will remain as the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, nor whether business secretary Kemi Badenoch and business minister and de facto construction minister Nusrat Ghani will stay in place.
The next housing minister – who is yet to be confirmed – will assume office at a time when private housebuilding is sharply decreasing amid pressure caused by high interest rates.
In September, consultancy PwC said it expected housebuilding output to drop by 21 per cent this year, while a contraction in construction activity in the same month was largely caused by a fall in private housebuilding, according to the S&P Global/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers’ Index for October.
The UK’s largest housebuilders are among those to slash output: Barratt Developments said in September that it would complete between 17 and 23 per cent fewer homes this year, while Taylor Wimpey said last week it would complete 26 to 36 per cent fewer homes this year.
The new housing minister will pick up the Renters Reform Bill, which was introduced in May this year and would see the end to “no-fault” evictions; as well as the Leasehold and Freehold Bill, which was confirmed in the King’s Speech last week and aims to end punitive service charges and make it easier for leaseholders to buy their freeholds.