Stuart Andrew Named 11th Housing Minister in 11 years During Reshuffle

On Tuesday afternoon (8th February 2022) Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Stuart Andrew would become the eleventh Housing Minister in 11 years.

Previous Housing Minister Christopher Pincher’s departure came just as the long-awaited Renter Reform White Paper neared its completion. At the time, Pincher was the tenth minister to take the job in 10 years, but was one of the longest running at two years.

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The government’s Levelling Up White Paper announcement was announced by Housing Secretary Michael Gove last week (2nd February 2022), including a hefty 12 Missions to Level Up the UK by 2030. ‘Pride in Place’ was one of the missions due to have a significant impact on local communities and a major point in the Levelling Up plan.  

Who is new Housing Minister Stuart Andrew?

Stuart Andrew was elected as Member of Parliament for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough in May of 2010. He was also Deputy Chief Whip and held parliamentary under-secretary roles in the Welsh Office and Ministry of Defence.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Stuart Andrew’s previous role in government:

  • 2017 to 2018: Assistant Government Whip 
  • 2018 to 2018: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
  • 2018 to 2019: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Defence Procurement)
  • 2019 to 2020: Vice Chamberlain of HM Household (Government Whip) 
  • 2020 to 2022: Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip) 

Andrew spent the first years of his life in the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales. Raised on a council estate, Andrew came to politics through voluntary work. 

He currently lives in Guiseley and his involvement in politics stems back many years, beginning with his involvement in the local community. 

Prior to entering the Commons, Andrew led the fundraising team for Martin House Hospice. He was elected to Leeds City Council in 2003, being a keen campaigner against excessive developments in his Ward. 

Following a June 2017 General Election, Andrew was re-elected to Parliament and appointed as Assistant Government Whip. Following the reshuffle of February 2020, Andrew was promoted to Deputy Chief Whip. 

In February 2021, he was appointed to the Privy Council by Her Majesty the Queen, receiving the title of The Right Honourable Stuart Andrew MP.

What has Housing Minister Stuart Andrew voted for? 

Stuart Andrew is a Conservative MP and on the vast majority of issues, votes the same way as other Conservative MPs. 

Here’s a list of how your current Housing Minister has previously voted: 

  • Consistently voted against an annual tax on the value of expensive homes (popularly known as a ‘mansion tax’)
  • Generally voted for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the ‘bedroom tax’)
  • Consistently voted for charging market rents to high earners who are renting a council home
  • In favour of phasing out secure tenancies for life
  • Consistent in voting for university tuition fees, and reducing central government funding of local government
  • Has voted in the past for raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year
  • Almost always voted for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
  • Generally voted against a more proportional system for electing MPs
  • Consistently voted to replace Trident with a new nuclear weapons system

Will Stuart Andrew be pro-landlord?

The question you may currently be asking is, will Andrew prove to be pro-landlord? 

Andrew is actually a landlord himself, as Property 118 states he has a house in Leeds let for over £10,000 a year, recorded in the MPs’ register of interests. This will mean he will most certainly understand the pain points that landlords face. 

However, Andrew could prove unpopular among tenants, as in 2016 he rebelled with 71 other Tory MPs to vote against an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill requiring private landlords to make their homes ‘fit for human habitation’.

At the moment, dishonest landlords have taken advantage of the system, but will soon come under fire as Section 21 is soon to be abolished. As we announced earlier, The Evictions (Universal Credit) Bill will get a second airing on the 25th of February 2022 in the House of Commons – which will stop ‘rogue’ landlords from abusing evictions. 

We’ll have to wait to hear Andrew’s thoughts on these updates…

What did previous Housing Minister Christopher Pincher achieve?

Christopher Pincher became Housing Minister almost exactly two years ago. He was the 19th holder of that position in 21 years – his predecessor being Esther McVey, who held the post for just 7 months. 

It was said that Pincher had been tipped to become Chief Whip during the mini reshuffle this week (8th February 2022), but this hasn’t been the case. But despite losing his red box privileges, Pincher is the longest-serving holder of the role since Brandon Lewis left the post in July 2016.

Christopher Pincher is also a Conservative MP, and in the past was Treasurer of Her Majesty’s Household and member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. 

He campaigned against the building of High Speed 2, but pressured Persimmon to complete its construction of the half-built Tame Alloys Estate in Wilnecote. He voted to reduce housing benefits for social housing tenants and against raising welfare benefits in line with prices. He has also advocated phasing out secure tenancies, something Andrew’s voting record shows him to be in agreement with.

Has the Housing Minister role been affected by a high turnover? 

The position has a reputation for a high turnover – with 11 MPs holding the role since 2012, and a total of 18 since 1997, many only lasting a few months. During Theresa May’s 3 years as Prime Minister, there were four Housing Ministers who served in total!

Only two Housing Ministers have lasted more than two years in the post:

  • Grant Shapps who pledged to slash red tape to stimulate housebuilding 
  • Brandon Lewis who broke ranks from the government to promise one million new homes by 2020, at a rate of 200,000 per year

Is this a strong and stable foundation for long-term solutions? It seems that a steady term is hard to come by in the housing crisis, especially as we slowly exit the pandemic. Perhaps the focus should be on steadying this shaky foundation in housing.

What are the future plans for Housing Minister Stuart Andrew?

There’s a lot on Andrew’s plate, from tackling a lack of affordable housing, to a building safety crisis and planning reforms, there are a lot of pressing issues on the Housing Minister’s to-do list. 

Andrew will also be in charge of meeting the target to build 300,000 homes a year. There is also a growing need to decarbonise homes to boost UK efforts to reach carbon net-zero by 2050

Andrew has been a staunch supporter of green belt protection and a campaigner against ‘excessive developments’ in his area. A post on Mr Andrew’s constituency website declares ‘Save Our Greenbelt’, opposing a plan for 70,000 houses in the next 16 years in and around Leeds. 

Andrew stated that we all need to preserve these sites for future generations to enjoy, saying: 

I will continue to work with local residents and community groups to save green spaces that are under threat of development, thanks to Leeds Labour Council. 

This position has seen 10 ministers take on the Westminster role in just over a decade, which is an indicator of how challenging the role is. Andrew will certainly have plenty of challenges to overcome in the future, let’s hope he lasts long enough to tackle them! 

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