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Shapps named housing minister

Grant Shapps has been appointed as housing minister by the newly-created coalition government.

The former Conservative shadow housing minister, who was re-elected as Welwyn Hatfield MP with a surprise majority of nearly 17,500 votes last week, says: "Having shadowed four housing ministers in a row it's an honour to finally be the Minister of State for Housing."

Shapps beat Liberal Democrat shadow housing minister, Sarah Teather, to the post.

He declines to be drawn on future housing policy, saying onlythat he needs to get his feet under the desk before commenting on either the government's proposal to scrap Home Information Packs, which he has long pledged to do, or the Liberal Democrats' former mansion tax proposal.

Shapps, who lives in Welwyn with his wife Belinda and their son, Hadley, and twins Tabytha and Noa, first stood for parliament in the 1997 election and, despite a lack of success, was elected as MP for Welwyn Hatfield in 2005.

Last year, as part of the Conservative Party's ninth housing green paper, Strong Foundations, Shapps revealed plans to move Energy Performance Certificates to the end of the house buying process if the party was voted into power in the general election.

He said: "We do not believe that they [EPCs] should get in the way of being able to market a property and so EPCs should be required only by the end of the sale process, rather than being a legal requirement as the house is placed on the market.

"We will therefore scrap the discredited HIPs, liberating EPCs to genuinely help people improve the environmental standing of their property."

The paper followed the Tory Buying Review, which remains unpublished. Shapps was leading the report with the help of TV's Kirstie Allsopp and Pinnacle founder Owen Inskip, in the hope of finding ways of improving the home buying and selling process.


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