Kit Malthouse, the relatively unknown MP for North West Hampshire, was revealed on Tuesday as the eighth housing minister in eight years.
He is Theresa May’s fourth housing minister, following in the footsteps of Gavin Barwell (11 months), Alok Sharma (7 months) and most recently Conservative party rising star Dominic Raab (7 months).
Malthouse is the former Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise in London. Before launching a career in politics, he was a chartered accountant. He has also chaired a finance company.
Prior to taking his most recent role, he was a junior minister at the Department of Work and Pensions, where he was responsible for overseeing the rollout of Universal Credit.
In a statement released following his appointment, he said he wanted to “restore the dream of home ownership and build a housing market fit for the future.”
Malthouse, 51, has a relatively limited parliamentary record, having been first elected in 2015.
On housing issues, he has consistently voted to phase out secure tenancies for life. He has also voted to charge high earners living in council housing market rents, to fund right-to-buy discounts for housing association tenants.
Additionally, he has a track-record of supporting measures to reduce rates of corporation tax and increase personal income tax allowances.
He is considered to be from the centre of the Conservative party. During the 2016 EU referendum he came out as supporter of the leave campaign.
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, welcomed the appointment.
She said: “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.”
Given his political leanings, we can hope that he’ll fight passionately to create a housing market that works for both tenants and landlords (who are currently providing 20% of the UK’s housing), as well as giving further support to developers, particularly in the build to rent sector. Ultimately though, just having someone committed to the role for any length of time would be a vast improvement over the past couple of years.
Image by Chris McAndrew