New housing minister is finally named as Alok Sharma

The new housing minister has now been named, five days after the result of the General Election. He will not have a place in Cabinet, and his name may not be known to you.

He is Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, whose interest in housing seems so far not to have been shared publicly – although he did help fight off a 750-home scheme in his constituency.

He becomes the sixth  housing minister since 2010.

On Parliamentary websites, he has listed his interests as being in trade, industry and finance – but not housing. He was previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Sharma, 49, is Indian-born, grew up in Reading, and has been an MP since 2010.

He was appointed minister for Asia and the Pacific in July last year when Theresa May became prime minister. He has also sat on the Treasury Select Committee, the Science and Technology Select Committee and was private secretary to the Treasury from 2012 to 2015.

Before entering Parliament, Sharma trained as a chartered accountant and then worked in banking for 16 years.

He has previously voted in favour of a fully elected House of Lords, and  in favour of equal gay rights and gay marriage.

He opposes Brexit and has supported the expansion of Heathrow Airport and free schools.

Sharma was re-elected with a 2,876 majority last week, down from 6,650 at the 2015 election as Labour made gains in the constituency.

As the new housing minister, he replaces Gavin Barwell who lost his Croydon Central seat and is now chief of staff to Theresa May.

In a tweet yesterday, Sharma said: “Honoured to be appointed Minister of State for Housing & Planning to work on building the homes Britain needs @Communities UK.”

Reading, in Berkshire, has two constituencies, and has been picked out by the BBC as reflecting the divided state of the nation, with the town being represented by both Tory and Labour.

Reading East was last week captured by Labour’s Matt Rodda, who defeated the long-standing Tory MP Rob Wilson who held the seat from 2005.

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12 Comments

  1. Robert May

    Great! an accountant in housing ….. serious that is superb news! I have a questions

    If there are 4 million tenancies which average £833.00 pcm what  ball park is the expected tax due?, How much is being collected?

    How many landlords ought to be completing SA105 L&P? How many are?

    Why doesn’t anyone have answers to basic questions that are covered  by  tax legislation?

    Given HMRC can recover unpaid taxes going back 20 years will the new minister work out what he is going to do with getting on for £40billion in undeclared and unpaid tax that  HMRC has failed to recover (to date) once he  asks the basic question, Why aren’t we  asking for and collecting all of the tax due on rental income?

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  2. Hillofwad71

    Housing still well down the list  on priorities by the Govt  Another swivel chair appointment  The last Minister who  managed to stay in the chair long enough to implement any  meaningful changes  was  probably  Nye Bevan

    Alok’s main claim to fame is getting the number of 1st class seats reduced on the Reading -Paddington train  and oh yes for buying his own house !

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  3. Trevor Mealham

    Why wasnt Kevin Hollinrake pulled in as Housing Minister. Someone with industry experience.

    Barwell was a wet blanket. Teressa May needs booting out ASAP. Housing is our biggest market. Crazy.

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    1. proagent54

      My thoughts exactly Trevor

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  4. FromTheHip64

    15 Housing ministers since 2000. No wonder nothing ever gets done. Successive governments tell us it’s a priority to get our votes and then do FA.

    Anyway, until Labour get in (which could be sooner rather than later) there will be no sense of urgency to build the houses we so desperately need. This new guy will shuffle papers and make noises for 10 months then b*gger of to another department.

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  5. Whaley

    SOOOOO… we’ve got a PM who doesn’t want to meet the people.

    We’ve got an Environment minister who doesn’t like the environment.

    We’ve got a Foreign Secretary that doesn’t like foreigners.

    We’ve got a Health minister who doesn’t like doctors.

    Our chancellor can’t add up.

    And now we’ve got a housing minister whose a banker (sic)

    What next Baldrick for Secretary of State for Education, Hannibal Lector for Sec of State for Health and Whaley for Minister of Fence Sitting and talking annoyingly in the third person.

    Oh for the Canadian model where they actually bother to match the expertise of the minister with the job and not ridiculously rotate around for no reason. Sex in seven years is ridiculous.

    Regards Simon ‘Quiche eating liberal’ Whaley

     

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    1. Whaley

      SIX, SIX, SIX!!!!!
      although I stand by my previous statement too.

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      1. Beam Splitter

        Well sex every seven years is ridiculous…

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        1. Whaley

          I know, I mean who does it that often

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  6. NickTurner

    It seems to me that successive Goverments appear to appoint ministers to departments where they have little or no experience which is probably a requirement. I always chuckle when there is a cabinet shuffle and one day a minister is the expert on X and next day the expert on Y, and we all know what an expert is.

    An accountant working in banking is a wonderful background to bring to ?????

    Two areas of the British economy that are so important – Housing and Agriculture and they are so low down the pecking order

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  7. JSSoxted58

    How ****** ridiculous – a Housing Minister that opposes Brexit and is not interested in Housing in the least! looks like Theresa May should be sorting out her leaving outfit at the next election – I knew I should have applied to  be the Housing Minister!

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    1. Whaley

      why can’t a minister be allowed that didn’t vote for Brexit, we lost a vote not our human rights….did we, must check the small print.

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