A Game of Musical Chairs in the UK Housing Ministry

Kit Malthouse, the 16th UK’s housing minister
Kit Malthouse is the UK’s latest housing minister in 17 years.

It’s been a bit of a ministerial carousel in the UK cabinet, particularly the Housing Ministry.

Within 17 years, the UK has changed Housing ministers 16 times, with Kit Malthouse as the latest appointee. In fact, the Housing minister’s role changes hands more than 20 times faster than the average UK homeowner moves houses, according to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).

Alluding to research in the association’s White Paper, The New ‘Normal’ – prospects for 2018, IMLA executive director Kate Davies  says, “The average homeowner is moving just once in more than 19 years… this means the role of Housing minister changes hands more than 20 times faster than the average UK home.”

Formerly Boris Johnson’s deputy mayor for Policing, Malthouse takes over the Housing portfolio from  Dominic Raab, now the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Raab had contributed a lot to the UK housing market during his 6 months as Housing minister,  including managing the Grenfell Tower recovery programme, as well as reforming the social housing sector.

Raab also came out with a bill to ensure fairness in the UK housing sector. However, the bill is still in the third reading among parliament members and the contributions he made to the industry has yet to be fully realised. 

Really, 6 months is too short a time to see through and implement change in something as consequential and expansive as the housing market.

Yet, in the last 12 months, the UK has reshuffled Housing ministers three times within a short period:  Alok Sharma; then, Raab; and now, Malthouse . It almost seems as if the ministers are playing musical chairs among themselves in tackling the UK’s housing crisis!

And while we’re on the subject of the crisis: at the moment, there is a serious undersupply  beleaguering the UK housing market.The UK government is clearly not meeting its target of 300,000 of new houses a year to rebalance housing supply

Research suggests that to address the housing crisis, the UK government needs to build 340,000 new houses each year until 2031. This is way beyond the government’s original target.

As a direct result, getting on to the housing ladder is becoming more impossible by the day for first-time buyers. This, of course, has given rise to demand for rental housing, benefitting landlords across the UK.

Obviously, things have remained the same despite 15 ministers having taken on the job. The appointment of Kit Malthouse comes at a  crucial time, and it is imperative that he tackles the housing crisis that has haunted every housing minister that has stepped into office.

Ultimately, the chronic shortage of housebuilding can affect the stability of a nation, and it doesn’t look like change is coming any time soon.

Hopefully, Malthouse sticks around long enough to make effective and long-lasting changes to the housing market.

Image source: https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/login?Refdoc=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Einsidehousing%2Eco%2Euk%2Fnews%2Fnews%2Fkit-malthouse-appointed-new-housing-minister-57137

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