Following the resignation of David Davis as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab been announced as his replacement. Only six months after he took up the role, his departure sees Kit Malthouse become the new Housing Minister.
The sector has seen mixed responses, with many questioning the lack of consistency in the role. David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, commented: “This is the eighth housing minister in eight years. Theresa May has made it her personal mission to fix the housing crisis and if the Prime Minister is serious about this, she now needs to make sure Mr Malthouse actually has enough time to get to grips with the real scale of the problem, and make meaningful change.”
However, he was also positive about the appointment of Kit Malthouse. He added: “Congratulations to Kit Malthouse MP on his new position. We’ve had constructive dialogue with him in his role at the Department of Work and Pensions, and it is positive that someone with an understanding of the strong links between welfare and housing has been appointed as Housing Minister. We look forward to continuing our close work with Mr Malthouse to solve the country’s housing crisis. Housing must remain a priority for this Government and housing associations will continue to be constructive and vital partners.”
Stonewater Chief Executive Nicholas Harris also added a cautious congratulations to Malthouse: “We urge the Prime Minister and her government to be mindful that solving the housing crisis requires strong, stable and continuous ministerial leadership. Stonewater welcomes the new Housing and Planning Minister Kit Malthouse’s appointment, and we hope that he will be in situ for the long term to provide the stability the housing sector needs to support and help deliver the Government’s ambitious housing agenda.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders was a little more scathing in his response. Commenting on the announcement that Kit Malthouse MP is the new Housing Minister, Brian Berry said: “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.”
“Having said this, we congratulate Kit Malthouse, who we look forward to working with to tackle the various challenges. We are hopeful that he will be given longer to take housing policy forward than his predecessors.”
Lord Porter, Chairman of the LGA had a more positive reseponse to the news. He tweeted: “This is good news for those of us who care about housing. @LGANews is ready to do whatever we can to help @kitmalthouse hit the ground running.”
Putting forward a different opinion, Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB, was disappointed to have lost Raab, whose focus tended to be on supporting smaller housebuilders and planning reform. He said: “It is always frustrating to lose ministers who are not only approachable and passionate about their brief but vocal about solutions. The housing crisis can only be solved with a consistent approach.
“The industry remains consistent in its approach and its message and this should prove a helpful platform to solve the housing crisis. We only hope that the next Minister for Housing shows a similar openness to solving the housing crisis and redoubles efforts to reform planning and make the housing market more competitive.”