London mayor: 1

How much of a role will housing play in the election for the politician with the second most say over housing in England?

It’s easy to dismiss the London mayoral election as the Boris v Ken show, a contest between two big personalities and the current and former mayors. That’s understandable in view of media coverage dominated by who paid how much tax, what Boris called Ken in that lift and the people in that election broadcast that made Ken cry. However, that risks obscuring some fascinating ways in which housing is emerging as an issue in the election and some interesting new ideas from the candidates.

Read the rest of this post on my blog for Inside Housing here.

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Sinking the Unsinkable, Chapter 6

The story so far: Overcrowded and behind schedule, with rebellious passengers and a mutinous crew, the RMS Torytanic continues her voyage. Despite the best efforts of assistant purser Shipps, Captain Cameron is starting to despair of ever finding a solution to the shortage of berths. Until, one day at the beginning of April…

Ship’s journal of Captain D.W.D Cameron, Esq, Monday April 2: It’s pointless to pretend anymore that my accommodation revolution is working, no matter how much Mr Shipps insists that all we have to do is challenge the lazy consensus. The passengers in steerage are crammed in like sardines and have turned the lifeboats into improvised dormitories. Something had to be done and that something is fortunately on time for its rendezvous. Read the rest of this entry »


Sinking the Unsinkable, Chapter 5

The story so far: The accommodation shortage is reaching crisis point aboard the RMS Torytanic despite a series of new initiatives by assistant purser Mr Shipps. Several icebergs have been spotted.

Ship’s journal of Captain D.W.D Cameron, Esq, Friday January 13: Some of the more superstitious passengers insisted on dining in their cabins this evening. I simply cannot understand their attitude when they are aboard a ship as well-appointed and unsinkable as the RMS Torytanic.
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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.

Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing.


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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