[Ben Reeve Lewis is cold…]
It’s the third week in May, for God’s sake, it’s as dark as December and I’m still wearing my winter coat.
I blame the government, even the weather is in austerity mode.
Applying for work online
I’ve spent most of the last week helping Frazzy’s recently redundant brother to register for Universal Jobsearch online, the DWPs latest debacle.
I could write a whole article on the madness of it and how it doesn’t work but someone has already done it here – for those of you who are interested. It’s certainly the shape of things to come for the unemployed.
The Windows 8 disaster
Have any of you had the deep misfortune to encounter Windows 8 yet? It’s a disaster. Just Google “Hate windows 8” and you’ll see hundreds of sites and blogs dedicated to it’s downfall (we still have XP – Ed].
It took weeks but I found a solution. Download something called “Smart 8”, it costs £3, takes a pain free 2 minutes to load and makes Windows 8 look like real windows, with a start bar and all the tools on show.
Farming out the homeless
I read an interesting piece in an organ that is new to me, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who I shall keep my eye on in future. Much has been written about the farming out of homeless people who cant be rehoused in London because of unaffordable rents but apparently the areas that they are being farmed out to are feeling the strain too.
Council leaders in Slough, Spelthorne, Luton etc are complaining that the influx of unemployed Londoners is driving up local rents as demand starts to increase. It is apparently also putting pressure on school places and social services.
In the past 3 years 32,643 families have been relocated outside of the capital.
Housing minister Mark Prisk displays typical political double speak when he says:
‘There is absolutely no excuse for families to be sent miles away without proper regard for their circumstances,- The law is clear: councils have a responsibility to take into account people’s jobs and schools when securing homes for those in need.”
Adding the all important caveat when he says:
“Nor is it right that those living on benefits should be able to live in parts of the Capital that those who aren’t reliant on this support couldn’t afford to.”
Having it and eating it
So let me look at that again. What you are saying Mark is there is no excuse for farming the homeless out of London but in the same statement you acknowledge that it isn’t right for people to stay in London if they cant afford to.
The phrase “You can’t have your cake and eat it” springs to me, as do a range of foreign variations, such as
- “Both the wolf is full and the lamb is whole” (Bulgarian)
- “Wanting both the donkey and the sugar dates” (Persian), and my particular favourite
- “You cant both blow and have flour in your mouth” (Danish) If you don’t believe me see here
Changes planned in Wales
Wales has finally released it’s white paper on reforming renting, ably explained by David Smith over at Nearly legal.
Too many issues to write about here, all covered by Dave anyway, notably though is the intention to get rid of the 18 or 19 different types of tenancy we have in England and go with just 2.
This was something put forward back in 2006 by Martin Partington but shelved. I read, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Martin is behind the Welsh plans.
I am surprised to see the white paper planning to allow 16 and 17 year olds to hold tenancies made it to the bill but Welsh landlords should be pleased to hear that if enshrined in law they will find it easier to take back abandoned properties without having to go to court.
As usual it’s the devolved governments that make things happen for their people while Cameron’s lot busy themselves giving jobs to their mates and failing to introduce policies that actually tackle anything.
Although fair play to Lord Tebbit this week who made perhaps the daftest announcement of the year on gay marriage which gave the guardian a wonderful headline “Gay Marriage bill may lead to Lesbian Queen and an artificially inseminated heir”. Something perhaps more suited for Private Eye than a national broadsheet.
Planet Property (one of my favourite blogs) ran an article this week saying that a third of tenants prefer renting and have no plans to buy.
An unusual piece of sloppy journalism for the PP team which appears to be the response to a press handout from Morgan’s, an estate agent in Leeds who came up with these statistics having interviewed only 254 of their tenants, hardly figures to base loose statements about cultural shifts when saying that the results;
“May indicate a change in the psyche of ‘generation rent’, perhaps reflecting a reduced stigma towards renting”
254 respondents? Come on PP, you can do better than that, and even if true that a third like renting that still leaves two thirds who don’t. Not exactly cause to get the bunting out.
Some respondents apparently cited the fact that they can afford to rent in places where they could never afford to buy. This is not something that would ever happen in London, as evidenced by the experiences of Luton, Spelthorne and Slough…..where the hell is Spelthorne by the way?
Penny on London
And this week if any Landlords find my complaints about the affordability in London irksome and feel motivated to tell me to simply move, as they have done on many occasions, rest assured you aren’t on your own. You have Penny Anderson (Renter Girl) on your side and that is not a sentence I ever thought I would write.
Penny’s latest article puts the boot into London life. She moved to Scotland having become exasperated with the city. She says;
“How do people live in London? How do they afford it? Let alone tolerate the conditions?”
I suppose it comes from being born and brought up here Penny same as for anyone and their home towns. London maybe be an overpriced, dirty and violent shithole but it’s MY shithole. I understand the rules here.
I spent 8 years in Somerset, doing the TV inspired live the dream stuff and on my first night back in London I was in a kebab shop next door to Hackney Empire when a fight broke out. The shop’s Alsatian was released and a bloke leapt over the counter brandishing one of these big sword things they cut the elephant’s leg with and chased his assailant down Mare Street.
I sighed, smiled and turned to the lady wrapping my kebab and said blissfully “I’m home”.
If only it wasn’t so bloody cold!!!!!!!!!!!