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Keighley MP Kris Hopkins gets Government housing job
6:00am Thursday 10th October 2013 in Keighley
Keighley’s MP says he is relishing being part of the Government after winning a key housing job in Prime Minister David Cameron’s reshuffle.
Kris Hopkins – who is a former district councillor from Oakworth and former Bradford Council leader – was promoted on Monday to become a junior minister at the department for communities and local government.
He will be getting to grips with the nation’s ongoing housing crisis while working for Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who is also a former Bradford district councillor.
Mr Hopkins said he understands his additional responsibilities will include on-shore and off-shore wind farms – a source of major contention in Bronte country – and issues surrounding “difficult families”. He was due to learn more about his exact job description yesterday.
He added: “I first got involved in politics because someone had put double yellow lines down in the middle of Oakworth in 1997, and to go from there to being asked to be a minister is a hell of a journey.
“It is a great privilege and hugely exciting. In addition to having the conversations I think are important as a local MP, this ministerial role will give me a far better insight into how government works.
“I’ve already had a good meeting with Eric Pickles. I first met him in 1978 through campaigning as a Young Conservative.”
Mr Hopkins said his previous experience of holding the housing portfolio when he was a Bradford district councillor gave him a useful background, but he also acknowledged the housing market has changed substantially in the intervening years.
Mr Hopkins (pictured) said the Government was investing a huge amount of money in helping people climb on to the housing ladder through its Help to Buy scheme.
“There is an opportunity to build a huge number of houses – we’ve seen 340,000 new houses since 2010,” he said.
“We need to understand why some development sites are blocked. The vast majority of entrepreneurs I know who have land would like to go ahead and build on it.
“The construction industry is an important part of the economy and it’s not just my department involved. This is also about where departments such as the Treasury fit in, so I’ll be working with them as well.”