It’s been all change this week with Rishi Sunak taking over as Prime Minister and appointing his new Cabinet and seeking to unify the Conservative Party after the recent turmoil.
Jeremy Hunt remains as Chancellor, but the Financial Statement scheduled for 31 October has been upgraded to a full Autumn Statement and will now take place on 17 November. This is presumably to give the Government more time to consider what action it might take given the state of public finances.
Michael Gove returns as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. As a former Housing Minister, he made progress on cladding during his first tenure in the role and has a reputation for making progress on tricky issues. As he returns, it will be interesting to see what happens in relation to building more homes. We will continue to make the case for a joined up and sustainable housing plan.
Grant Shapps takes over as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. His remit covers a number of issues that are relevant to members. First up, is the challenge of decarbonising housing and the role lenders can play in this. Given 29 million homes need retrofitting to meet the 2050 net zero target, clarity on how we can achieve this is vital.
Secondly, the definition of Public Interest Entities (PIEs) is important to the sector. All banks and building societies are currently PIEs irrespective of their size, an overhang from EU maximum harmonisation. We are calling for a review, advocating that only those firms which meet the equivalent size thresholds proposed for large private companies are defined as PIEs.
Finally, Mel Stride takes over at the Department for Work and Pensions, leaving the Chair of the Treasury Select Committee vacant. He now has the opportunity to finally reduce the waiting time for Support for Mortgage Interest to help people stay in their homes at this financially challenging time.