A big picture – with the lens cap on

Kit Malthouse loses focus in accusing developers, housing associations and councils of lacking the ambition to hit the government’s housebuilding target.

Kit Malthouse 2

So… Kit Malthouse accuses developers, housing associations and councils of “lacking ambition” with their near-overwhelming Resi Convention dismissal of the government’s 300,000 homes a year by 2025 target.

Just to put those “unambitious” developers, housing associations and councils in the big picture – after a snapshot audience poll showed 93% saying no to the target – Malthouse compared them to Kodak and its failure to adapt to digital cameras.

Malthouse needs to re-focus – having taken his lens cap off.

The Resi rejection reflects the real world.

If those developers, housing associations and councils are telling Malthouse 300,000 homes year by 2025 can’t be done, then maybe… it can’t be done.

And that message from developers, housing associations and councils has been more consistent than that of any “here today, gone tomorrow” tenure at 2 Marsham Street.

On the subject of tenure, Malthouse went Haight-Ashbury, telling Resi he wanted to see “a thousand flowers” of different forms available.

Florid language, indeed, should you wonder where have all the “flowers” gone.

Potty.

Does a rose by any other name really smell as sweet – or is the name all?

Seemingly sniffy at the chances of 70,000 social homes being built a year, Malthouse graciously conceded that he would “like to see an increase in supply”.

How’s that for ambition?

Admittedly, such gracious concession was qualified with an obligatory reference to the collective £1bn of extra borrowing headroom on Housing Revenue Accounts.

To look that gift horse in the mouth, lift its tail.

The “market” got Malthouse excited though – a breathless evocation to audience of it being “quite interesting” to see there may be a market – or whether anybody could stimulate a market – for private social rent.

Thus the “big picture” showed its true colours.

Malthouse found safer ground on the sale of public land, a process he was “keen to re-energise”… through a series of meetings convened with fellow ministers.

There was even a hint at incentives.

He’s at NHF next week.

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