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Kris Hopkins appointed as new Housing Minister

Yorkshire MP Kris Hopkins has replaced Mark Prisk as Housing Minister following this week's Government reshuffle, the Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed.09 Oct 2013

Hopkins has taken the role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, a more junior role than the full ministerial role held by Prisk and his predecessor Grant Shapps which carries fewer policy making responsibilities.

Parts of the portfolio held by Prisk which have not been carried over to Hopkins include high streets and town centres, which will now be the responsibility of Brandon Lewis, and community rights, building regulations and empty homes, which will be covered by Stephen Williams who was also appointed Under Secretary this week.

Hopkins, like Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, is a former leader of Bradford Council. As a local councillor he covered social services and council housing and was responsible for the delivery of housing stock transfer in Bradford.

"I was very humbled when the Prime Minister asked me to take on this role and now look forward to the challenges ahead," said Hopkins in a statement. "As a former leader of Bradford Council and someone who cut his political teeth in local government, I have a huge regard for the work elected representatives and officers at all levels do on behalf of the communities they serve. I now look forward to working closely with them and other colleagues in the weeks and months ahead."

The National Housing Federation (NHF) welcomed the appointment of Hopkins but expressed concern at the downgrading of the role. "As somebody who has been involved with and understands housing and housing associations, he can make a real difference and help deliver the homes we desperately need," said NHF chief executive David Orr. "We look forward to working closely with him to put housing on top of the political agenda."

‘However, 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," Orr added.

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