Rachel Maclean is missing. “Who?!”, I hear you ask. She is the Housing Minister… admittedly the 15th since 2010 so you might not have noticed… but there is another reason why you might not have noticed: where on earth is she?
She was appointed on 2nd February 2023 (so she is already one of the longer serving Housing Ministers) and I looked at her at the time of her appointment, and said: “we’ll watch her and in my weekly missives I’ll report on her”. So, when Govey stood up and announced his half-baked, recycled, un-costed, pie-in-the-sky housing policies earlier this week (to much fanfare… let’s be honest, Govey passes wind and the media reports it in full), it got me wondering.
“Myself” I wondered, “I wonder who is now Housing Minister? One never ever hears from them” I then worried about it for oh, at least 15 seconds, before I googled it. The Googlator then reminded me that it was Rach. So, I wondered “myself” I wondered, “what has the housing minister been up to…one never hears her name” which admittedly, is quite weird because of what I do for a job, the Housing Minister is quite important… but I don’t know whether she was still in post (and sort of forgot she existed) or for that matter, what she is up to.
So, naturally I turned on my Googlator again and typed in her name and clicked on “news”… there were lots of announcements of her becoming Housing Minister in February, then a bit of coverage from her constituency local rag… a landlord constituent pointed out that her policies will decimate the private rented sector, a bit more coverage on PRS with her saying the legislation won’t come forward this year.
It then got a little bit more interesting… On 14 July in a very rare outing for the Housing Minister she said about Cambridge that “What was published in the Sunday Times [about the UK Silicone Valley and lots of new homes and labs] was speculation taken from various leaked documents that had been provided in whatever ways these leaked documents are provided.” She added: “I can’t comment on the speculation, but I can say this is not currently government policy.”
Fast forward to this week and Govey announced that Cambridge house building will get a “super squad” of planning experts would focus on the city to “turbocharge development that contributes to our vision”, backed by £500,000 of investment. (I’m not sure what change you would get out of £500k for one large planning application but I suppose it is a nice gesture).
So, is it a case of Govey keeping the Housing Minister in the dark so he can hog all the limelight in the press, or is she just completely out of her depth? Who knows? But Minister, if you read this, call me on 07736121014! I will be your platform and let people know what you are doing!
Until next week,