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Keighley MP hits back at ministerial job jibes
10:00am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
New Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has hit back at claims that David Cameron downgraded his job – because he is only a junior.
The Prime Minister catapulted the Keighley MP (pictured) into his first ministerial job last week, asking him to sort out Britain’s chronic inability to build enough homes.
But there was astonishment that the crucial housing job now rests with a parliamentary under-secretary – the lowest rung – rather than a minister of state. In the past, the housing minister has even been granted a seat in the Cabinet table The National Housing Federation (NHF), which represents housing associations, led criticism at the implications of the reshuffle. David Orr, its chief executive, said: “We’re surprised and disappointed that – given the scale of the housing crisis and how crucial housing is to the country’s long-term economic recovery – the Government has decided that the housing brief should be taken up at an under-secretary of state, rather than minister of state, level.”
Latest figures show the number of houses completed in England in 2012/13 was the lowest since records began – with 107,820 built.
It means the Coalition has gone backwards, despite repeated criticisms of the last Labour Government for failing to deliver desperately-needed new homes.
But Mr Hopkins, in a letter to a national newspaper, insisted the critics were focusing on trivia. He said: “The Government’s ongoing efforts to get Britain building are far more important than the ministerial title on my red box.”