Kit Malthouse MP, the eighth housing minister in eight years

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Following Dominic Raab’s elevation to Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union the Prime Minister was forced to appoint the eighth Housing Minister in eight years. That appointment is Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire since 2015.

Originally from Liverpool, Malthouse studied politics and economics at Newcastle University before training as a chartered accountant. He worked for Touche Ross- now part of Deloitte- moving to Cannock Group before founding County Finance Group. County Finance Group is based in Lutterworth in Leicestershire, and Malthouse remains the company chairman and majority shareholder (Source).

Malthouse cut his political teeth as a councillor in the City of Westminster, where he was first elected in 1998. He served as Chief Whip and Chairman of the Social Services Committee before acting as Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance from 2002-2006 (under Sir Simon Milton’s Leadership). In 2006 he stood down from the Council. As Deputy Leader he courted controversy when he led a policy with the Met Police to make life uncomfortable for homeless rough sleepers, on the basis that this would push them towards various City- funded night shelters.

In March 2007 he was selected as Conservative candidate for the West Central London Assembly seat to replace the outgoing Angie Bray. He was elected for West Central (which covers Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham) in 2008 with a healthy majority of 51,000 and was immediately made Deputy Mayor for Policing and Chairman of the Met Police Authority in Boris Johnson’s incoming Conservative administration. As an aside, also part of the 2008 Conservative London Assembly intake was James Cleverly (now MP for Braintree and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party).

In 2012, following Malthouse’s re-election, Boris Johnson made him Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Chairman of London and Partners and Vice Chairman of the London Enterprise Panel. However, perhaps mindful of the Conservatives’ difficulties in London and Johnson’s commitment to serve only two terms as London Mayor, Malthouse began looking for safe parliamentary seats in 2013 and 2014. He was selected for North West Hampshire in July 2014 to succeed the retiring Sir George Young.

In March 2015 Malthouse resigned as Deputy Mayor; he was elected as an MP in the General Election two months later with a 23,900 majority and held the seat in 2017 with a comfortable 22,600 majority. In the 2016 referendum he campaigned to leave the EU.
Since being elected to Parliament, Malthouse has been a member of the Treasury Select Committee and in January 2018 he became Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance in the Department of Work and Pensions. After only six months in the role he has now been promoted to Minister of State for Housing.

It is interesting to note that the day Boris Johnson left government his former deputy and fellow Leave-supporter was promoted.

Like his immediate predecessor, Malthouse is not a politician who has previously concentrated on housing issues. However, he is undoubtedly more experienced politically than his three years as an MP suggest and his considerable experience of politics in London will undoubtedly have shaped his approach to the housing challenge that is most acute in the capital. Sir Merrick Cockell, Cratus’ Executive Chairman, welcomed Malthouse’s appointment;

“It’s good to see the appointment of Kit Malthouse as Housing Minister. He served 8 years as a Westminster City Councillor (including as Deputy Leader) and a further 8 years as London assembly member for Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham and London Deputy Mayor for Policing and then Business & Enterprise. This is the longest experience of local and regional government of any of the 7 Housing Ministers that have preceded him since 2010. With such a rapid turnover of Ministers, Kit’s experience means he won’t need to read himself into the role over the summer and can hit the ground running.”

Looking ahead, Malthouse faces myriad issues, including uncertainty around the impact of Brexit on the fortunes of large housebuilders, the Government’s response to the Letwin review on barriers to building and the upcoming social housing green paper, among others.

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