Bjorn Howard, Group chief executive officer responds to new Prime Minister and housing minister appointments

Bjorn Howard, Group chief executive officer at housing association Aster Group, said:

“I congratulate Mr Clarke on his appointment at DLUHC and am hopeful that his previous experience at the department means he can hit the ground running. I strongly urge him and the new prime minister not to deviate too far from the path already laid out for housing. We do not have a perfect system, but I believe the ambitions set out by the levelling up agenda were moving us in the right direction – what’s needed are focused adjustments, not wholesale changes.

“The new secretary of state should build on his predecessor’s promise to put communities at the heart of housing development. Community Land Trusts, where development projects are borne out of the demands of local residents, seem to align perfectly with this aim but are currently an underused method of housing delivery. I believe more investment in community-led development, by expanding the Community Housing Fund, is essential to levelling up housing in the UK.

“Putting communities at the heart of housing needs to extend beyond simply building more homes. Housing associations, at a time of significant financial challenge for households, have an opportunity to further demonstrate their societal value. I would welcome the new government exploring how it can work with the sector to drive more social and community benefit over and above just the number of homes we build or customers we provide services to.”

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