03 Jul 2017
We’d like to offer our sincere congratulation to Alok Sharma MP, who’s been appointed Minister of State for Housing and Planning. He takes over the post from Gavin Barwell, who lost his seat in parliament at the general election.
Mr Sharma is the Conservative MP for Reading West, a seat he first won in 2010. He grew up in the town, and describes himself as ‘very much a local Reading man’. He trained as an accountant with Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, then spent 16 years in international corporate finance, working in London, Stockholm and Frankfurt. Since entering parliament, he’s served on the Treasury and Science & Technology select committees, and as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Treasury.
In his new role, Mr Sharma is responsible for housing and home ownership policy, as well as the associated planning policy: the two portfolios have been combined since 2014. He’ll also oversee estates regeneration, and regulation of the private rented sector.
This is a large and complex portfolio to get to grips with - there have been six different ministers in the last seven years – and especially for an MP with no background or previous experience in the housing sector. As the initiators of private retirement leaseholder housing in the 1970s, we’re hoping to meet Mr Sharma to discuss housing and older people’s housing requirements at his earliest convenience. We’re keen to offer him and the new government the benefit of our experience and expertise in this vital area, as the nation faces the challenges of rising rents, stagnant housebuilding and an ageing population.