Sajid Javid has been announced as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in Theresa May’s re-shuffle.
However this looks more like a re-appointment than anything else: Javid was already responsible for housing as Communities Secretary, a Cabinet position. His new job title seems to have done little more than add in the word ‘housing’.
After considerable speculation as to whether a new housing minister would be appointed with a Cabinet place for the first time in many years, ITV’s political editor Robert Peston tweeted: “So the new housing minister is actually the old housing minister. It is a radical rebranding of a department but no structural change. Yawn.”
Another tweet said: “The reshuffle is now going so badly the govt has had to resort to reshuffling the name of Sajid Javid’s department.”
Alok Sharma, the 16th housing minister in 20 years, was appointed in June 2017, after his predecessor Gavin Barwell lost his seat. There is no update on Sharma’s position and as to whether he will continue with his housing role.
Sharma, like his predecessors, did not have a seat in Cabinet. Notably, many major housing announcements since he took office were made not by him but by Javid.
What was the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will now be re-badged as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Critics are certain to ask just how much this re-branding will cost taxpayers.