Housing minister’s wife is a private landlord – declared as interest by Alok Sharma

Estate agent Paul Smith’s views on the housing crisis have been cited in Parliament, where it also emerged that the wife of new housing minister Alok Sharma is a private landlord.

Sharma made it clear: “May I start by declaring an interest, in that my wife is the owner of a property that is rented out.”

In a more than usually interesting House of Commons debate, veteran Tory MP John Redwood said the huge majority of people’s “preferred way of living” was to own their own homes.

He said the financial case for home ownership was “extremely strong”.

However, Redwood said that many people under 35 not only cannot afford to own a home, but find it extremely difficult to afford a rented home in London and the south-east because rents are “extraordinarily high”.

He added: “They may still live with their parents, but it would not be their preferred way of proceeding; it may not be their parents’ preferred answer either.”

In the debate, Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh said of the housing crisis: “The person I would like to pray in aid is not a natural ally; it is Paul Smith, CEO of Haart estate agents.

“He said on City A.M. yesterday that ‘as the average loan size increases whilst the average income decreases’, despite first-time buyers’ desire to buy, young people are being forced beyond their means, and government should intervene with a tax break as a quick and straightforward way to help them get on to the ladder… Theresa May’s legacy on home ownership has so far been a disaster.

“The ‘just about managing’ are further away from owning their own home than they ever have been, and the government’s feeble housing white paper did not go anywhere near enough to get housebuilders building and the market moving.”

“I could not have put it better myself.”

In the debate, Sharma admitted: “Whether housing is for sale or for rent, it is increasingly unaffordable.”

He went on: “To give some statistics, to buy an average home in England now costs almost eight times average earnings. Twenty years ago, it was three and a half times average earnings.”

He added: “I am new to this brief. I have heard many of the suggestions that have been made, and I will take an opportunity over the summer to think carefully about much of what has been said, but the start has to be building more houses.”



Email the story to a friend


  1. Votta583

    I’ll tell you what, let’s put a ban on tenant fees so landlords increase the rents and make it even harder to afford to rent?

    oh no sorry that’s already happening

  2. jeremy1960

    And how about increasing taxation on landlords? Whoops, missed the boat there!

  3. NickTurner

    and wouldn’t it be a good idea to allow a landlord who has a property to rent and not trading as a limited company to be able to set the mortgage interest paid against the income? Oh, sorry has that also been dealt with, so the housing availability gets yet another blow below the belt and small time landlords either exit the market or decide not to enter.

  4. El Burro

    And how about voting Labour in for a long period, let’s say three parliaments, so they can really sort out all the problems, such as building far more affordable housing, as they obviously have all the answers to the housing issues we face?

    Oh hang on, we did that between 1997 and 2010 didn’t we . . . .

  5. JMK

    And lets not forget that according to the English Housing Survey, a staggering 83% of new dwellings is down to the PRS.  I guess that’ll be dwindling now then.

  6. zep-123

    Priceless we need more housing so what does the government do tax the only real source of net increase in supply namely private property developers landlords just when we are needed most. This government haven’t got a clue what’s coming with S24 it is going to be a disaster of epic proportions you think we have a housing crisis now ? There is going to be mass evictions bankruptcy s as the tax rates are going to be unaffordable for mortgaged portfolio landlords George Osbourne should be arrested for what he has done to the PRS

  7. Hillofwad71

    “I am new to this brief. I have heard many of the suggestions that have been made, and I will take an opportunity over the summer to think carefully about much of what has been said, but the start has to be building more houses.”

    You really coudn’t  make it  up somone lacking any experience in one of the most important areas of the economy is going to have  a quiet mull lying on his sunbed over the summer. Where is Nye Bevan when you need him


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a Reply