Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s shadow minister for housing and planning, tweeted that the committee had been cancelled because the government ministers handling it had resigned. “We have no functioning government,” Pennycook concluded.
Social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa raised concerns about what Gove’s departure meant for social housing tenants.
In a Twitter thread, Tweneboa said that Gove approached him after seeing his social media posts highlighting the living conditions of social housing tenants.
Big Futures is calling on the Government to put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of poverty for good. We are calling for long-term solutions to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. So that young people and future generations have a fair shot at life. Join us and demand a better future.
The campaigner also revealed many of his suggestions to fix the situation made it into the Social Housing Regulation Bill announced in May’s Queen Speech.
Tweneboa said Johnson’s decision to sack Gove meant “the housing crisis in the UK has been dealt another blow”.
Tweneboa added: “This is so worrying for the thousands/millions of tenants across the country that began to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Now we’re back to square 1 so very selfish from the ‘Prime Minister’.”
The building safety crisis was one of the biggest challenges facing Gove when he was named levelling up secretary – cladding campaigners even held a protest in parliament that coincided with his first day on the job.
Since then, he has taken a tough stance against homebuilders, introducing a levy to pay for the removal of dangerous cladding, a building safety pledge to ensure firms carry out works and limited the amount leaseholders have to pay to £10,000 or £15,000 in London.
His departure left several leaseholders caught up in the crisis questioning whether Gove’s replacement can continue in the same vein.
Steph Pike, a leaseholder from Bristol, said: “Gove is the only housing secretary who has progressed things for leaseholders stuck in the building safety crisis.
“It wasn’t perfect but he was getting stuff done and keeping the pressure on the industry. This could be a huge step backwards for us.”
Liam Spender, a litigation lawyer from London also affected by cladding issues, said he was “sorry to see Michael Gove sacked”, noting that the minister had “worked harder” than any of his predecessors to tackle the crisis.
“The solution isn’t perfect but was a step change on what was offered before,” added Spender. “Now he’s gone the risk is that there’ll be no heavyweight to see things through.
Another leaseholder Lucie Gutfreund, from Brent in north-west London, added: “I cannot deny the engagement and proactiveness by Gove; God knows what awaits.”