Govt adopts 'renewed focus' on housing
The government has claimed that it is renewing its focus on the housing market, with a new minister appointed as part of prime minister Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle.
Sajid Javid has been appointed secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, while his department has been renamed as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Mr Javid stressed that building the homes required to meet demand across the country is an "absolute priority".
He added: "I'm delighted the prime minister has asked me to serve in this role. The name change for the department reflects this government's renewed focus to deliver more homes and build strong communities across England."
The Labour party gave a sceptical response to the announcement, with Jon Trickett, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, stating that "it takes more than renaming departments to erase seven years of failure".
This follows on from other significant recent announcements relating to the housing market. Towards the end of December, it was confirmed that a range of new measures will be coming into effect to crack down on "rogue landlords" and to improve standards for people renting in the private sector.
Landlords renting properties in England occupied by five or more people, from two or more separate households, will be required to have a licence.
Expected to affect around 160,000 properties, this change will give local councils increased powers to take action against landlords renting out sub-standard and overcrowded homes.
Earlier in the month, the Department for Communities and Local Government revealed details of plans designed to eliminate "unfair and abusive" practices in the leasehold system.
Among the new measures is a ban on leaseholds for almost all new-build houses.