Cautious welcome for new Housing Minister from Unity chief executive

Cautious welcome for new Housing Minister from Unity chief executive

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Ali Akbor, the chief executive of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise, has written to newly appointed Housing Minister Dominic Raab to welcome him to the role and invite him to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor by visiting affordable housing schemes in the city.

However, Mr Akbor has called on Theresa May to allow Mr Raab to stay in the role for a sustained period – unlike many Housing Ministers before him.

The Unity chief executive, who also serves as secretary/treasurer of BME National, a collective of BME housing associations in England, said:

“I am well aware of Mr Raab’s abilities and am confident that he will absorb his brief very quickly and be competent in the role.

“But the fact remains that he is now the seventh person to be given the job since the current Government was elected in 2010.

“Alok Sharma kindly accepted my invitation to visit a number of Unity affordable housing schemes last year and was gaining a well-deserved reputation for listening to the sector.

“With the Housing Green Paper due to be published in the coming months, I hope the momentum and goodwill that Mr Sharma had achieved will not be lost as a result of yet another change of minister.

“I trust that Theresa May will now allow Mr Raab to stay in post for a sustained period and enable him to make progress in addressing the housing crisis that is rightly raising deep concerns across the country.

“The change in the Department’s name to become the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is a positive step which I hope does indeed reflect the Government’s sharper focus on delivering more homes.

“In addition to writing to Alok Sharma to thank him for his work, I have written to Dominic Raab to invite him to follow his predecessor’s example by coming to Leeds to see the excellent work that Unity is doing to provide high quality homes for those who need them most. I hope for a positive response.”