All posts from: June 2010
‘It’s not you, it’s your inability to join the property-owning classes.’
Not, perhaps, a break-up line you might expect to hear in Communist-ruled China. But in Beijing, where a two-bed flat is reported to cost 22 times the average income, a housing crisis is fast becoming a dating disaster.
According to the LA Times, more and more young women in China’s capital are dumping men for their failure to get on the housing ladder.
A post on the popular Chinese web portal Baidu reads: ‘I’m 25 years old, looking for a boyfriend… I want you to have an apartment and a car… The apartment has to be built after 2000 and the car has to be better than a minivan.’
Where’s Cilla Black when you need her?
An Inside Housing reporter was left somewhat baffled last week, following a conversation with a press officer for a roofing company involved in the redeveloping of Arsenal football club’s old London ground into flats.
‘How many shared ownership properties will be available?’ she wanted to know. The PR’s response: ‘It appears that none of the apartments are of multiple occupancy.’
Having explained what shared ownership was, our reporter then asked when the development had completed. After a little more confusion, it transpired the £170 million development was finished mid-2009. The excuse for this rather delayed announcement? ‘We have not managed to get this to press until now due to gaining approvals,’ said the PR. ‘This is the first time that this story has been covered from this perspective and I think you’ll agree that it is unusual.’
The reporter certainly agreed - it is odd to cover a story a year late. Flogging a dead horse won’t get you anywhere, or at least, not beyond the pages of Closed Circuit.
Never shy to adopt a ‘glass half-full’ approach to life, Luminus housing association renamed last Sunday’s Father’s Day as ‘Men’s Day’.
All 180 male staff at the Cambridgeshire landlord (currently celebrating ‘10 years saving the world’, according to a recent press release) were treated to a special gift, and card from Luminus boss Chan Abraham.
The ‘push-up pro’ is described as ‘a fitness device designed to aid press-up technique’. It’s globe-saving stuff people.
So Grant Shapps has finally come out and said it: the Tenant Services Authority is to go.
But it seems not all tenants will be ruing the day the housing minister scrapped the watchdog tasked with putting their interests at heart.
‘The Tea Supping Agency has become subservient to landlords,’ comments one, Inside Housing reader Rick Campbell. ‘The basic premis should have been to extend the remit of the Housing Corp - not provide another darned quango from within which tenants who wish to drive services appear to be excluded because ‘the great and the good’ hold court within the TSA.’ At least they were well-refreshed while it lasted.
As we all know, the days of plenty in the UK are well and truly over.
The chill winds of austerity are even blowing in the corridors of power, with two former housing ministers last week bemoaning the harsh regime of the new House of Commons spending watchdog. It seems the rules have even been tightened on the long-established practice of hosting events on the Palace of Westminster’s terrace, perched on the banks of the Thames.
After Nick Raynsford, the MP and former Labour housing minister, used his speech at one such event on the Thames Gateway last Tuesday to express his concern, Lord Falconer added this stark warning: ‘Drink as much as you can as quickly as you can. In these austere times we fear we may run out.’
Perhaps it was acting on this advice that led to a rather startling confession at the same event, concerning planning and Thames Gateway minister Bob Neill.
‘Bob Neill is one of my oldest political friends,’ announced Conservative councillor Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education and the London 2012 Olympics at Essex Council. ‘We’ve fallen up and made out many times.’ With this level of political commitment, the Gateway’s future must be assured.
Consultancy Drivas Jonas Deloitte has been sending out St George’s Cross wigs for fans to don during England’s World Cup games.
As the lucky recipient of one such hirsute number, Closed Circuit can confirm this is one piece of tournament paraphernalia that gives the vuvuzela a run for its money in the Most Ridiculous Items Ever stakes.
Grant Shapps got it in the neck this week as the Sunday Mirror trained both barrels on the energetic housing minister.
The red top ‘exclusive’ took umbrage with Mr Shapps’ decision - first reported by Closed Circuit in May - to fly himself to an appearance on Radio 4’s Any Questions. The piece blasts housing’s own Biggles for creating a huge carbon footprint, saying the trip was the equivalent of 27 train rides (distance not specified). It goes on to suggest it would embarrass prime minister David Cameron who has pledged to cut the government’s carbon emissions.
Reports that the incident will see Mr Shapps heading for the emergency exit have been dismissed as hot air.
The oldest soap opera in the world, The Archers, is serious business - few other shows would merit the BBC interrupting its rolling general election coverage to broadcast the latest intrigues from Ambridge.
But last week Greg Clark, minister for decentralisation, might have taken the plot a little too seriously.
An official press release on the Communities and Local Government department website praises the (fictional) residents of Ambridge for successfully saving their (fictional) local shop from closure. A quote from Mr Clark adds: ‘I’d like to congratulate the people of Ambridge for taking the initiative and successfully saving the hub of the village!’
If you fancy a huff and a puff come November then you could do worse than attend this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show.
United House has chosen the Three Little Pigs nursery rhyme as the theme for the trio of floats it is entering in the annual procession through the City of London.
Thirty little pigs - played by the contracting firm’s staff, City of London employees and workers from homelessness charity Broadway - will be joined by a 20-strong marching band dressed as wolves. The stunt aims to promote sustainability - so that’ll be hemp hair on the pigs’ chinny chin chins then?
The website of junior housing minister Andrew Stunnell contains a glaring omission.
The ‘big issues’ section of the Lib Dem’s site trumpets his actions on education, the economy and health, but of housing not a mention. Shurely shome mishtake…?
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