Starmer Appoints Rayner, Pennybrook for Housing

Prime Minister Keir Starmer hopes to inject stability into housing policy by appointing two key figures to run the department.

Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner assumes control as Levelling-Up and Housing Secretary, with Matthew Pennybrook as housing minister.

Rayner takes over from controversial Tory figure Michael Gove, who stood down as an MP for the 2024 General Election.

Pennybrook is the latest of more than 20 housing ministers who have entered and quickly left by the revolving door at the entrance of the housing ministry since 1997.

Their job is to push on with Starmer's housing vision.

Starmer’s housing vision

He wants Labour to oversee the building of 300,000 new homes a year over the five-year life of this Parliament.

To help crystallise his dream, Labour will overhaul planning regulations and concentrate on building affordable homes.

Labour will also redefine Green Belt land to remove what Starmer calls the ‘grey belt of disused car parks and dreary wasteland’.

The private rented sector will receive special attention as Pennybrook works towards Labour’s election pledge to abolish Section 21 no-fault evictions within the first 100 days of coming to office. He will also revitalise the Renters (Reform) Bill dumped when former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the election.

Rayner has recently come under fire for tax irregularities when selling a right-to-buy property in Stockport, Manchester.

Cleared of tax irregularities

Cleared of all allegations, she has previous experience as a landlord and the tax issues they face, especially capital gains tax and the complicated rules surrounding the sale or disposal of a second property.

Rayner has followed a hard road to the top in politics.

She grew up in social housing in Stockport. Aged 10, she became a carer for her mother, who had bipolar disorder. Rayner was pregnant at 15 and left school without any qualifications.

She worked as a care worker and then as a trade union representative.

Rayner is an architect of Labour’s housing policy, setting out the party’s plans for a mix of affordable, social and private homes across a belt of new towns.

Aged 44, she has a partner and three children.

Who is Matthew Pennybrook?

Pennybrook, MP for Greenwich, London, served as shadow housing minister for almost four years before the election.

On his appointment, he said: “It is a real honour. Tackling the housing crisis and boosting economic growth is integral to national renewal. Time to get to work.”

Much of his recent work has involved amending the Renters (Reform) Bill.

Landlords may consider some of his opinions controversial. He has spoken about not allowing landlords to sell a rented home until after a two-year tenancy. He has also spoken out against tenants trying to outbid each other to land a property.

Pennybrook, 41, is married with two children.

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