Theresa May has named Alok Sharma, the MP for Reading West, as the new housing and planning minister.
Sharma replaces Gavin Barwell, who lost his Croydon Central seat in the General Election last week but became May's new chief of staff.
Sharma was elected in 2010 for Reading West and has served as a member of the Commons Treasury select committee, a member of the Commons Science and Technology select committee, a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Treasury and from 2012-15 as a Conservative Party Vice Chairman.
Prior to entering Parliament, Alok qualified as a chartered accountant with Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, and then worked for 16 years within banking, first with the Japanese firm Nikko Securities and then Enskilda Securities (the investment banking arm of SE Banken), where he held senior roles based out of London, Stockholm and Frankfurt.
Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the House Builders Association, said: “We need to get on with the job of reforming the planning process, unlocking access to finance for SME house builders and enabling them to take on more apprentices. SMEs are the beating heart of local economies working within a 15-mile radius of their HQ, they contribute to filling regional skills and housing shortages.
“Our members, mostly SMEs, are encouraged by Sharma’s previous parliamentary work on tackling late payment, supporting sustainable development and valuing local employment. As housing and planning minister we hope he will be a champion for SMEs.”