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New housing minister appointed to replace Barwell

Former foreign office minister Alok Sharma has been appointed as the government’s new housing and planning minister, replacing Gavin Barwell. 

Mr Sharma, who was previously minister for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has been confirmed in the role today at the Department for Communities and Local Government.  

He is the sixth housing minister in seven years.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, Mr Sharma’s new boss, tweeted: ”Congratulations to my friend Alok Sharma…great to have him on board.” 

The industry will be keen to see what progress the government can make on its housing white paper, which was published in February as part of a bid to fix the UK’s “broken” housing market. 

Initiating a major housebuilding programme was identified by Construction News as a key priority for the new government.  

Mr Sharma held on to his seat of Reading West in last week’s election by defeating Labour’s Olivia Bailey by around 3,000 votes, increasing his majority by 1.2 per cent. 

The 49-year-old, who became an MP in 2010, is a qualified chartered accountant and previously served on the Treasury select committee. 

Mr Sharma tweeted that he is “planning to work on building the homes Britain needs”. 

His predecessor Mr Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat in last week’s general election, but has since been appointed as Theresa May’s chief of staff. 

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