Eighth housing minister since 2010 and fourth under prime minister’s tenure revealed

The government has announced that Kit Malthouse has become the new housing minister and replaces Dominic Raab, who had only been in the post for seven months.

Malthouse is now the minister of state for housing at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and becomes the eighth person to be responsible for housing since 2010. He had been serving as minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance and replaces Raab who has been appointed Exiting the European Union secretary. 

Malthouse brings a wealth of experience within politics to the role after first entering the arena in 1998 when he became a member of Westminster Council, before establishing himself as deputy leader and cabinet member for finance within three years. He stood down from the council in 2006 and in May 2008 he was elected to the London Assembly for the seat of West Central, at which point mayor of London Boris Johnson made him deputy mayor for Policing. He was first elected to parliament in May 2015 as the Conservative MP for North West Hampshire.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey has responded disparagingly to the announcement, claiming the succession of housing ministers is “no way to run a government”. “Dominic Raab's move means that Theresa May is already on her fourth housing minister in just two years as PM. Eight different housing ministers in eight years,” he added.

But Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) president John Acres was more complimentary and believed the newly-appointed minister was a welcome addition. 

“We welcome Kit Malthouse as the new Housing and Planning Minister and congratulate him on taking up the vital role,” Acres said.  “The RTPI looks forward to working with him to help deliver the government’s ambitious housing agenda. Mr Malthouse’s experience in local government will be invaluable to understanding the pressures and priorities facing local authority planning departments as they work to ensure enough houses are built to the best standards in the right places.”

The MP for north west Hampshire does bring some ministerial experience of housing policy from his recent role at the Department for Work and Pensions. He also has experience of the planning system from his time on Westminster City Council and he has been a strong supporter of local communities having greater control over planning decisions throughout his career. 

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr congratulated Malthouse on his new position but called on the prime minister to ensure the new minister “actually has enough time to get to grips with the real scale of the problem, and make meaningful change”.

While Johnny Caddick, managing director at build-to-rent developer Moda, has called on the government to refocus its attention to the housing market, rather than simply Brexit negotiations and nothing else.

“This extraordinary circus of housing ministers continues,” he added. “The government needs to prove that it’s not focusing on Brexit at the expense of everything else. It’s vital we have continuity in the role and a reality check about the vital role build-to-rent needs to play. We need a new minister to continue the great work Gavin Barwell did in supporting investment and in ensuring we have the necessary skilled workforce to build all the homes politicians keep promising voters.”

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