New housing minister Kit Malthouse makes a not-so-stellar start
Labour is not impressed with him refusing to give up a lucrative second job.
“I completely get why Dominic Raab has been promoted, and congrats to him. But when I met him just after I’d announced my retirement I said that I’d probably outlast him. Please can we have a housing minister who really wants the job and wants to make a difference?”
So said National Housing Federation boss David Orr after yet another holder of the housing brief got moved on this week and the sector got set for the eighth housing minister in eight years.
In the event Orr and his colleagues ended up with Kit Malthouse, the MP for North West Hampshire who is best known for previously being Boris Johnson’s deputy mayor for business who argued against the introduction of the London congestion charge.
Within a matter of hours, it emerged that Malthouse had also adopted a somewhat controversial approach to homelessness when he was deputy leader of Westminster City Council, with one London Assembly accusing his council of a policy towards homeless people that included "hosing them out of doorways".
“We certainly instituted a policy of making life - it sounds counterintuitive and cruel - more uncomfortable; that is absolutely right,” Malthouse said a couple of years later.
And since then the Mirror has revealed that the new housing minister is refusing to give up a lucrative second £50k-a-year job as director of County Finance Group Ltd, the loan company he co-founded in 2001. He is still listed as chairman of the company and is the only MP with a ministerial job to hold a paid directorship at the same time as their government role.
Malthouse declined to comment but shadow housing secretary John Healey was more forthcoming. He fumed: “Fixing the housing crisis is a not a part-time job. With home-ownership at a thirty-year low and homelessness spiralling upwards, the country deserves a full-scale commitment from the new housing minister.”
Things can only get better…