A new housing minister – the eighth in as many years – is taking up his brief today.
Kit Malthouse was named yesterday afternoon in what was a day of turmoil for the May administration with the resignation of foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
Yesterday, former housing minister Dominic Raab was put in charge of Brexit following the resignation of David Davis.
Raab had the housing brief for just seven months, prompting calls from the industry for the Government to stop spouting rhetoric and take housing seriously, and put an end to the rapidly revolving door of housing ministers.
However, there must be significant questions over Malthouse’s likely longevity with Twitter yesterday abuzz with speculation of further ministerial resignations, moves to oust Theresa May, and a general election in the autumn. Many of the tweets featured the famous ‘Brenda from Bristol’ clip when she said “Not another one” to news of the last election.
One suggestion, following no fewer than 17 housing ministers in the last 21 years, was that housing should no longer be a political football and should be removed from government control.
Iain McKenzie, CEO of the Guild of Property Professionals, said: “Now that Dominic Raab has been promoted, we are set to get our eighth housing minister in eight years. This is completely unacceptable.
“The Government accepts that we are in a housing crisis with a shortage of good-quality homes, and yet they are showing time and time again that housing is not a priority.
“The market needs a housing minister with industry experience, who is dedicated to understanding and fixing the problems the market is facing.
“The Government needs to accept this and give long-term stability to the housing department, or housing should be removed from government control.”
In a joint statement, Propertymark chief executives Mark Hayward and David Cox said: “We welcome Kit Malthouse as the new housing minister.
“We hope that he is able to bring some continuity to this post as we are now on the fourth housing minister in little over 12 months, and if the Government really wants to fix the broken housing market, consistency is important.
“There have been a large number of consultations over the last few years, all of which now require policy to be put into place; it’s not entirely clear how this can happen if a new minister is reshuffled as soon as they are in post long enough to understand their brief.
“This is a situation in which we would probably welcome a three-year minimum term although given our experience so far that would be wishful thinking.”
Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “It felt like slowly but surely Dominic Raab was starting to make a difference but less than seven months later we are once again left with a housing minister with very little housing experience.
“With Brexit now less than a year away, it appears that the Government is letting its focus on the UK property market fall by the wayside.”
Alexandra Morris, managing director of online rental service MakeUrMove, said: “It is hugely disappointing that the housing brief is once again the poor relation.
“Just months after James Brokenshire was piloted in as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government after Sajid Javid left for the loftier heights of the Home Office, housing is once again trumped, this time by Brexit.
“We’re staring down the barrel of a very real housing crisis. There is a major deficit in the amount of housing supply, both for buyers and in the social and private rental markets.
“This lack of supply has caused massive unaffordability across the board, from first-time buyers struggling to get a deposit, to sky-high rents in towns and cities across the UK.
“The Government has made lots of changes to the private rental sector, including the loss of mortgage tax relief for landlords, the impending tenant fees ban and the proposed introduction of three-year minimum tenancies, to name but a few.
“There appears to be a real lack of joined up thinking with regards to these changes, which resemble sticking plasters rather than well thought out strategies.
“Ultimately tenants are likely to be the losers from Government mismanagement that could be in a large part down to lack of consistency in the leadership.”