In the wake of the Brexit-related resignations of David Davies and Boris Johnson, the UK government now has a new Housing Minister – Kit Malthouse.
A few years ago, Malthouse was Johnson’s Deputy at the London Assembly, but since becoming MP for North West Hampshire, the Liverpool-born former accountant has served at the Department for Work and Pensions.
He has a reputation as a no-nonsense politician, unafraid of offending people and prepared to speak his mind. In his time at the London Assembly, Malthouse campaigned to allow foxhunting, saying that children in London are afraid to play outside because of foxes; he also tried to introduce tougher punishments for owners of dangerous dogs and for perpetrators of domestic violence.
In the property world, Malthouse has spoken out in parliament on the need for more home ownership, especially among young people. “The solution to the housing market will be a long-term one,” he said in December 2017. “We are trying to build as many houses as we possibly can – we need 250,000 to 300,000 houses a year to bridge the demand and supply problem.” He is also aware of the acute need to invest in infrastructure to support housing developments.
Malthouse is the 18th Housing Minister in the past 20 years, a more frequent turnover of ministers than in almost any other ministry.
Among the government drama over Brexit, the housing sector will hope that Malthouse can make an effective contribution.