Originally published as a column for Inside Housing on January 10.
What’s in a name? Only time will tell how important the change of departmental moniker will be but it was surely the minimum that Theresa May needed to do to show that housing now ranks as a top priority for her government.
The man in charge may still be the same (Sajid Javid) but both the creation of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the order of the words in the title are significant.
By my reckoning this is the first time since 1970 that the word ‘housing’ has appeared in the title of the organisation and the secretary of state responsible for it.
In the 38 years since the Ministry of Housing and Local Government was abolished to create the Department of the Environment the name has been changed again and again to reflect different briefs and priorities.
Between Peter Walker back in 1970 and Sajid Javid in 2018 we’ve had 28 different housing ministers of middle and junior rank, a handful of them with the right to attend Cabinet but not vote in it.
It’s the time of year again. The time for New Year’s Resolutions that last only a little longer than the next day’s hangover and the time to hope that maybe things will get better once the clock strikes midnight.
So here are five things that bugged me in 2017 that I hope are about to change over the next 12 months.
1) That it will be 2018 not 1958
This seems a vain hope given a prevailing political climate that is blowing us back to the glory days of ‘iconic blue passports’. The Home Office is even making an early bid to take us back to the land of warm beer and black and white telly.
Maybe Britain will wake up in 2018. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn the lessons that were sinking in back in 1958 and realise that the Empire has gone and we need to look closer to home. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted as a column for Inside Housing on December 22.
As in 2016, it seemed like nothing would ever be the same again after a momentous event halfway through the year.
The horrific Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 means that the headline on this column should really have read ‘nine other things about 2017’. Just as the Brexit voted has changed everything in politics, so it is almost impossible to see anything in housing except through the prism of that awful night.
That said, 2017 was another year of momentous change for housing, one that brought a few signs of hope too. Here’s the first of my two-part review of what I was writing about.