North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse has been appointed housing minister, following the government’s cabinet reshuffle.
He becomes the eighth housing minister since 2010 and marks the sixteenth appointment to the role in the last 17 years.
Yesterday afternoon saw the resignations of the secretary of state for exiting the European Union David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, prompting a cabinet reshuffle that resulted in former housing minister Dominic Raab being named as Davis’ successor.
Formally holding the position of parliamentary under-secretary of state for the department of work and pensions, regarding housing, Malthouse’s voting record shows an interest in phasing out secure tenancies for life and for charging market rent to high earners who rent a council house.
The Conveyancing Association’s director of delivery Beth Rudolf comments: “We welcome Kit Malthouse’s appointment. As a former Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise and a businessman chairing a finance company we anticipate he will understand the importance of vitality in the housing sector. We are contacting his team to arrange a meeting in the hope that we can help with any information he might need to get him up to speed…. we need someone on board who can pick up the baton and support the changes which must come to ensure a robust housing market.”
However, others are exasperated by the turnover of ministers. Paradigm Mortgages chief executive Bob Hunt says: “Rabb – seven months, Sharma – seven months, Barwell – 11 months; eight Housing Ministers in the last eight; 17 in the last 21. And Theresa May said at the last election that she was making housing a priority but she is now on her fourth in four years with the appointment of Kit Malthouse. It’s quite frankly staggering plus you have millions of pounds spent on various consultations that don’t get acted on, individuals appointed with little or no industry experience, and yet we have cross-party acceptance that there’s a real shortage in available quality housing. Perhaps we have reached the point where housing should be taken out of the Government’s control and an appropriate person with the necessary experience can be appointed for a minimum term?”
Audley Group chief executive Nick Sanderson comments: “Given the historically short tenure of housing ministers over the last few years – eight in the role since 2010 alone – Raab’s replacement needs to hit the ground running and urgently confirm the priorities if we are to make any progress… but we need some stability in the department to drive through these much-needed reforms.”
Trussle founder and chief executive Ishaan Malhi says: “I wish I could say I was surprised by the news but sadly this pattern has become all too predictable and once again we will have to listen to the pledges of another person in the job… what we have is a government that doesn’t seem to be taking the issue [of housing policy] seriously. In a month’s time, we were expecting to see major policy changes via the National Planning Policy Framework. How can the public believe that any proposal will be delivered when the people who make them never stick around?”
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive officer Robert Sinclair adds: “Ami has really welcomed the fact that housing has risen to the top of the agenda, but we continue to be disappointed with the revolving door that appears to sit beside the housing minster’s desk. If fundamental change is to happen, we need some continuity.”