Election Update 2021: what the results mean for housing

Melanie Pope, 11 May 2021

With votes counted across the weekend, all the results from the “Super Thursday” elections are now in. Planned votes last year were postponed due to the pandemic, meaning elections took place for local councils and regional Mayors across England, alongside a by-election in Hartlepool.

I have summarized the results below alongside the candidates’ manifesto and campaign pledges on housing. We look forward to seeing our members working with the newly elected officials across the country.

The results saw some newly elected candidates alongside a number of incumbent Mayors securing another term.

West Yorkshire – Tracy Brabin was elected as the first Mayor of West Yorkshire. Brabin, is currently the Labour MP for Batley and Spen – meaning another by-election, this time in Yorkshire. Brabin herself grew up in social housing and ran her election platform on many net-zero issues.

Liverpool – Labour candidate Joanne Anderson became the first directly elected black female Mayor in Liverpool. Anderson pledged to build more council homes in her manifesto.

Tees Valley – Ben Houchen was re-elected Conservative Mayor for Tees Valley, winning 73% of the votes cast and with it a significant personal mandate. In his last term, Houchen approved the redevelopment of brownfield land for housing, as part of wider regeneration plans in Stockon-on-Tees.

West Midlands – Andy Street was also re-elected for the Conservatives in the West Midlands. Street ran much of his re-election campaign on tackling homelessness and utilizing brownfield land in the West Midlands.

Greater Manchester - Labour's Andy Burnham was re-elected mayor of Greater Manchester. Burnham ran his re-election campaign with housing at the core of the levelling-up agenda and has stated that he will go out to public consultation on a long-term homelessness prevention strategy.

London – Sadiq Khan, Labour has secured a second term as Mayor of London. Khan’s manifesto for London included a pledge on building affordable housing.

Bristol – Labour candidate Marvyn Rees, secured his second term in office, beating the Green Party in the second ballot. Rees pledged in his manifesto to accelerate home-building to over 2,000 each year, with at least 1,000 affordable, by 2024 and reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation.

Local council results

The government welcomed a strong showing in the local council elections, finishing the weekend having gained 13 councils whilst Labour lost eight.  

Labour Party reshuffle

Labour have responded to the results from Thursday by reshuffling some key positions over the weekend. Lucy Powell MP is the new Shadow Housing Minister and after much press attention over the weekend, Deputy Chair Angela Rayner MP is no longer Party Chair and National Campaign Coordinator. Rayner's new role is Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work.

We will reach out to Powell and her office and look forward to building a constructive working relationship with her.

Hartlepool by-election

The Conservatives gained the long-held Labour “Red Wall” seat in the Hartlepool by-election, a seat which has been held by Labour since its creation. Jill Mortimer MP secured a majority of 7,000. Despite it being predicted to be a close race, the Conservative party appear to have secured many of the votes which went to the Brexit Party in 2019. Mortimer ran much of her campaign on regenerating local high streets.  

NHF members have worked to ensure that housing was part of the discussion in the Mayoral elections, launching extensive education pieces to make sure new candidates understand the value of housing association’s work.

If you would like to discover more strategic insights on a national level, along with regional discussions for your more local challenges, then join us for our Communications and Influencing Network on 7 June.