New minister for housing and Planning announced

Theresa May has appointed Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, as minister of state for housing and planning.

Alok is the third housing and planning minister in three years and succeeds Gavin Barwell, who was appointed as new chief of staff to the prime minister.

The House Builders Association (HBA) congratulated Alok on his appointment. Alok has previously highlighted the damaging impact of late payment for small and medium-sized (SME) businesses.

Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the HBA, said: “We need to get on with the job of reforming the planning process, unlocking access to finance for SME house builders and enabling them to take on more apprentices. SMEs are the beating heart of local economies working within a 15-mile radius of their HQ, they contribute to filling regional skills and housing shortages.

“Our members, mostly SMEs, are encouraged by Mr Sharma’s previous parliamentary work on tackling late payment, supporting sustainable development and valuing local employment.  As housing and planning minister we hope he will be a champion for SMEs.”