A tale of two power lists

I don’t normally pay much attention to power lists (especially when I don’t feature on them) but two that came out this week contain some fascinating insights into housing and property.

First up came the Telegraph’s Property Power List topped by Sir Terence Conran. The paper claims that: ‘The 25 entries on our list represent a cross-section of the most important people working in the buying and selling of British homes. It includes those who work in the property field day-to-day, as well as those who exert their power from the fringes.’
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Top of the hill

Twice before governments have attempted to force through improvements to the energy efficiency of existing homes and then backed down. Now the backlash is building again.

In both 2002 and 2006 the plan was to amend Part L of the Building Regulations so that home owners building an extension or a conservatory or replacing the windows or the boiler would also have to address the efficiency of the rest of the house. Both times vested interests and political cowardice killed the idea off.

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Sinking the Unsinkable, Chapter 4

The story so far: It’s been far from plain sailing for the RMS Torytanic as the officers struggle to cope with dissent in steerage and rebellion in first class. There’s trouble in the engine room too but chief engineer Osborne has promised Captain Cameron the ship can handle the stormy weather ahead.

Ship’s journal of Captain D.W.D Cameron, Esq, Wednesday December 7: Problems in first class. The chief steward Mr Duncan Smith tells me that some of the well-heeled object to our plans to charge those in steerage extra if they refuse to share their hammocks. I’ve had a word with the drinks steward, chap named Freud, seems very capable, and he’s promised to keep an eye on the situation.

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Repeating the same mistake?

I am getting an appalling sense of déjà vu reading a story in today’s Telegraph that ‘young unemployed may be forced to live with mum and dad’.

The ‘radical proposal’ is apparently being worked on by Downing Street and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as ‘part of a drive to make sure people are better off working than on benefits’.

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Sinking the Unsinkable, Chapter 3

The story so far: Over-crowding in steerage and a potential mutiny in first class have made it a troubled maiden voyage for Captain Cameron and the RMS Torytanic. Fortunately, assistant purser Mr Shipps has come up a series of new initiatives to help and the captain’s Big Society idea seems to be gaining in popularity…

Ship’s journal of Captain D.W.D. Cameron, Esq, Monday November 21: Into the bowels of the ship for the launch of our new accommodation strategy. Unfortunately my first lieutenant, Mr Clegg, accompanied me but at least we got the chance to swap our bridge officers’ uniforms for the cloth cap and boots of ordinary working men. I really do feel that it sent an important message to our passengers that we intend to do something about the shortage of berths. As I announced a new right to buy for passengers in third-class and a new indemnity scheme for those in second-class to buy newly constructed cabins I got a strong sense of déjà vu. ‘Not to worry, captain,’ said my assistant purser Mr Shipps. ‘These are new and powerful incentives that will sweep away the lazy consensus.’ I’m not sure what he meant but it certainly sounded impressive.
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On repeat

First it was a revolution, then a reboot. Now it is a relaunch and a revamp.

The language has shifted considerably since David Cameron made the right to buy a key part of the ‘housing revolution’ he pledged in his Conservative conference speech in October.

Last month the policy was styled as a ‘reboot’. This month it’s so 21stcentury it’s even got it’s own Facebook page. The good news for the government is that it has 225 likes and news of happy council house buyers Mr and Mrs Watkins from Whitburn, South Tyneside. The bad news is that mixed in with some enthusiastic comments are a series of negative comments questioning the ‘back of a fag packet calculations’ and who is going to lend the money. Oh, and the fact that the Watkinses are actually £1 million lottery winners.

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See you later, regulator

Another day, another consultation and still no prospect of regulating buy to let.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) closed the consultation on its Mortgage Market Review (MMR) on Friday to a chorus of calls from lenders for more flexibility and pleas from organisations like Shelter for no more concessions to the banks. The charity also produced an animation to press its case against reckless mortgage lending.
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