Saturday, 29 April 2017

Ian Corleone

From: Closed circuit

Gavin Barwell was doing the Sunday TV rounds this weekend, popping up on Andrew Neil’s Sunday Politics and Robert Peston’s couch for ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

The minister handled the verbal sparring pretty well, dishing out some serious punishment to Mr Neil over his use of housebuilding statistics.
“That’s not the best measure, with respect,” he said when the presenter rolled out completions statistics rather than net additions. “You’re not looking at the full picture of new housing in this country.” Zing.

Challenged about a 3% stamp duty surcharge on private rented landlords, Mr Barwell set out the government’s position – Build to Rent: good, buy-to-let: bad.

“That was to try and stop a lot of the speculation in the buy-to-let market,” he said.

No wonder the White Paper has been so difficult to get through parliament. At the last count, 39% of Tory MPs were buy-to-let landlords.


While Mr Barwell was sitting on sofas, his boss Sajid Javid was on building sites sticking on a hard hat and getting down to business building the homes this country needs.

Well, not really – he was answering a few questions about policy tinkering, but you get the point.

A sneak peek shared on Twitter by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed the communities minister smiling into a camera on a bridge over a railway station.

We assume the White Paper has been stuck in a tunnel – or perhaps it’s been drafted by Southern Rail.


Ian Hughes retired as chief executive of Rooftop Housing Group last week, and staff gave him a send-off with a slightly bizarre photo that mocked him up as The Godfather’s Vito Corleone.

Closed Circuit isn’t in on the joke, but it assumes this means Mr Hughes’ time at the helm of Rooftop must have been marked by the violent murder of rivals and horse decapitations.

We wish his successor, Boris Worrall, well in his bid to “settle all family business”, and advise him to watch out for executive director Fredo.

Ian Hughes


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