NORTH West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse has climbed the ranks of government seven months after being handed his first ministerial posting.

Mr Malthouse this week replaced Dominic Raab MP as minister for housing and planning at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, in a reshuffle following resignations from top cabinet members.

As the eighth housing chief since 2010, the Tory MP will now be tasked with tackling the housing crisis and working on policy areas including social housing, help to buy and the Grenfell recovery programme.

On his appointment Mr Malthouse said: “Everyone deserves a safe, affordable and secure place to call home and fixing Britain’s broken housing market is of paramount importance to me and is the generational challenge of our time. 

“As I start the job it will be safety, affordability, environmental quality and my longstanding commitment to strong local plans and neighbourhood plans in the forefront of my mind. Let’s get started.”

Since the move on Monday, the spotlight has been placed on the former Westminster City Council councillor’s record on reducing homelessness, after he told the London Assembly in 2008 the council created a policy of making life for rough sleepers “more uncomfortable” on the streets.

When accused of “ruthlessness” in his approach, Mr Malthouse rejected the claims and said the work was welcomed by almost all charities in the area.

Regionally, a landowners, farmers and rural businesses body has welcomed Mr Malthouse into his new position and hopes he will show “strong leadership” in housing and planning matters.

Andover-based Country Land and Business Association (CLA) South East’s regional director Robin Edwards said: “Ensuring the right type of homes are built in the countryside can breathe new life into villages and give these communities the chance to survive the future. 

“However, positive development is too often held back by policies which do little to promote sustainable housing growth across rural areas. 

“We welcome the fact that a rural MP is taking over this brief and I look forward to working with Mr Malthouse to ensure that landowners are part of the solution to help solve the rural housing crisis.”

The MP, who was first elected in 2015, was also congratulated on his new role by Test Valley Borough Council leader Councillor Phil North.

Since January the former London Assembly member had been working as parliamentary under-secretary of state for family support, housing and child maintenance in Department for Work and Pensions.

About leaving the department, Mr Malthouse said this week his time working there was “very rewarding” and that he had huge confidence in the reform of the welfare system under Universal Credit, a system which has just been introduced in Andover.