The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will become the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), as the office sees new faces take the top positions.
The announcement that the government plans to rebrand the MHCLG as the face of its ‘levelling-up’ programme came days after Michael Gove replaced Robert Jenrick as secretary of state and a slew of other top government positions changed hands.
On Sunday, the government outlined its vision for the housing department, which will see Mr Gove perform his new role as secretary of state for levelling up, alongside his new housing responsibilities. The change in name for the department reflects a key plank of the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto, in which it pledged to “level up every part of the UK”.
Andy Haldane, former chief economist at the Bank of England, has been appointed as the new head of the levelling up taskforce and will work with Mr Gove to implement the government’s plan.
A recent PwC survey found that 70 per cent of the public think a focus on housing would be the most effective way to reduce inequality, after COVID-19 lockdowns highlighted “long-standing issues of affordability, quality and equality”.
Mr Gove has been charged with leading the new-look department alongside other ministerial appointments. Kemi Badenoch and Neil O’Brien assume the roles of minister of state and under secretary of state respectively.
The appointments of Ms Badenoch and Mr O’Brien led to speculation that housing minister Christopher Pincher might lose his role, however he has retained his position. This makes him the longest-serving holder of the role since Brandon Lewis left the post in July 2016.
The MP for Tamworth announced that he had kept his position as housing minister in a tweet on Saturday: “Pleased to be re-appointed as the minister of state for housing. Now back to work on our ambitious plans for building back better, delivering our reforms to help those who want a decent home of their own to have one.”
Eddie Hughes maintains his position as minister for rough sleeping and housing, and Lord Stephen Greenhalgh remains minister for building safety and communities.
In the announcement about the new department, Mr Gove said: “I’m thrilled that the PM has asked me to lead the levelling-up agenda, the defining mission of this government.
“With a superb team of ministers and officials in a new department, our relentless focus will be on delivering for those overlooked families and undervalued communities across the United Kingdom. We have a unique opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.”