The revolving door of housing ministers in the UK continues, as Rachel Maclean becomes the 15th to be ousted since 2010. Described as a "totally embarrassing conveyor belt" by a Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities insider, Maclean's dismissal came as a surprise, especially on the eve of her introduction of the government's Renters Reform Bill.
Maclean's departure was announced on social media, sparking frustration from her colleagues, including Housing Secretary Michael Gove and Cabinet Minister Kemi Badenoch. Gove, who may now take on the role of introducing the Renters Reform Bill, is reportedly displeased with Downing Street's decision.
Despite Maclean being labeled as "gaffe-prone," sources affirm her fundamental decency and genuine support from Gove. However, her removal aligns with the government's historical pattern of addressing the housing crisis through inconsistent decision-making.
Now, the 16th housing minister in 13 years inherits a mounting list of complex and costly issues. Over 131,000 children in England are currently homeless, residing in temporary accommodation. Local councils, grappling with rising homelessness and soaring hotel bills, have warned the chancellor of depleting funds.
With 1.1 million households in England waiting for social housing and a mere 7,528 social homes built last year, the crisis deepens. Private rents reach record highs, buy-to-let landlords default on mortgages, and no-fault evictions surge by 38% in a year.
As the housing crisis worsens daily, the challenges facing the 16th housing minister include addressing homelessness, insufficient social housing, soaring private rents, and a growing list of landlords facing financial struggles. With the ever-changing landscape of housing policies, the minister will need to navigate these issues swiftly, all while facing the looming uncertainty of a general election that could cut short their time in office.