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Malthouse in, Raab out – yet another change at housing ministry

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The housing ministry’s revolving door has taken yet another spin with Kit Malthouse replacing Dominic Raab as housing minister after just six months in the role

Raab, a vocal leave campaigner during the 2016 referendum, was promoted to Brexit secretary this morning after David Davis resigned from the government. 

His replacement, Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire and a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will become the eighth housing minister since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

James Brokenshire remains in charge of the department as secretary for housing, communities and local government.

Malthouse is a former deputy mayor of London who served under Boris Johnson between 2008 and 2012, in charge of policing and subsequently business.

He was appointed to the DWP in Theresa May’s January cabinet reshuffle and worked as the parliamentary under-secretary of state for family support, housing and child maintenance.

News of Raab’s exit from the housing brief – his six-month sojourn is the shortest since 2001 – sparked criticism from many frustrated at the lack of stability for the crucial role.

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said: ‘If the government is as serious as they say they are about building the homes and communities the country desperately needs, we need to see real, continued leadership at the top of government. The crisis in affordability and quality of housing will not be addressed without it.

’We hope that [Malthouse] will be able to bring stability to the role at this crucial time.

’With the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) expected later this month and ongoing work by his department aimed at improving the design of new homes, the Minister has the chance to leave his mark with a real commitment to design quality at every level.’

housing minister terms 2

 

Davis resigned from his role over a disagreement with Theresa May’s plan for negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU backed by the cabinet last Friday.

Raab replaced Alok Sharma in January, who had himself replaced Gavin Barwell following the 2017 general election, where Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat.

Malthouse, first elected to parliament in 2015, has voted in favour of extending right-to-buy-style discounts for housing associations and for phasing out secure tenancies for life. 

The reshuffle comes as new data from industry tracker Glenigan showed a sharp drop in the number of starts in the housing sector across the UK. 

Comment

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders
Another week, another housing minister. The industry has long bemoaned the turnstile approach to this crucial role but the pace of change is quickening.  We’re now going through two housing ministers a year. Dominic Raab, Kit Malthouse’s predecessor, was only in post for a mere six months and before that, Alok Sharma was in the position for just seven months. The government claims that housing is a priority yet this constant chopping and changing in terms of the person leading the charge would suggest otherwise.

Melanie Leech, chief executive, British Property Federation
The housing sector will be frustrated with yet one more housing minister, but there are extenuating circumstances and the national interest must come first. However, if the government is to meet its aspirations of delivering 300,000 new homes each year, this revolving door of housing ministers must stop.

This revolving door of housing ministers must stop

What’s most important now is that we do not lose momentum behind the housing policies born out of the Housing White Paper, which supported housing of all tenures including build-to-rent. We welcome Malthouse, we hope his previous experience at City Hall and Westminster City Council means he can hit the ground running, and we look forward to working with him to undo the damage caused by the acute undersupply of new housing over the past few decades.

Russell Pedley, co-founder of Assael Architecture
The housing brief seems to be the most unwanted job in politics, and while not without challenges, whoever takes over will find a host of opportunities to make a difference – from modular housing technology to billions of pounds of new investment waiting to pour in from institutional investors. 

 

 

 

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