Midweek Housing News Roundup


Do you remember when O2’s mobile network crashed a couple of weeks ago? Well, something rather good has come out of it.

The firm created a £1 million fund to compensate its customers, but, via an email, offered everyone either some free airtime credit OR the opportunity to donate their share to charity.

Well, the results are in – and it’s good news for homelessness charity Crisis which is to receive the £387,089 that O2 customers chose to donate.

All we need is another 500 massive network collapses and the government’s target of eradicating rough sleeping by 2027 will appear achievable.


The government has been busy announcing things, which seems quite remarkable amid the rubble of Brexit but life goes on, I suppose.

Yesterday, communities secretary James Brokenshire revealed that a ‘stronger and more effective regulatory framework to improve building safety’ is apparently being created.

The framework will mean ‘tougher sanctions for those who disregard residents’ safety, more rigorous standards and guidance for those undertaking building work, and a stronger voice for residents,’ which sounds quite impressive and comprehensive. We shall see.

MP Brokenshire said: ‘By making people responsible and more accountable for safety, we will create a more rigorous system so residents will always have peace of mind that they are safe in their own homes.’

Here’s the whole press release.

And here’s another thing the government’s announced – it’s a plan that sets out a programme of work to ensure people who live in residential high-rise buildings are safe and feel safe, now and in the future, so have a read.

And here’s news of an open consultation: the government is calling for evidence on the subject of good practice on how residents and landlords work together to keep their home and building safe. So, have a read of that too.

Say what you like about these announcements, at least they are announcements. The way things are going, we might be lucky to have any semblance of government at all in a few months.


How about the latest right to buy figures? Well, it is Christmas…

Over July to September 2018, England’s councils sold an estimated 2,417 homes under the much-loved right to buy scheme – a drop of 22% compared to the same quarter in 2017-18, which saw 3,115 sold.

And what did the latest quarter’s sales yield? Well, local authorities received approximately £205.3m, 17% lower than the £247.3m in the same quarter of 2017-18, with the average sale bringing in £84,900.

I hope you enjoyed that. Many, many more details here.


And now it’s time for racing car driver news, naturally.

Lewis Hamilton, Britain’s favourite tax-shy drivist, has gone and gotten himself into trouble after implying that his hometown of Stevenage is a ‘slum’.

Actually, he didn’t exactly say that. Speaking on the BBC’s boring Sports Personality of the Year programme, the steering wheel-handler told a presumably barely awake Gabby Logan that it was a ‘dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums,’ before immediately saying ‘well, not the slums’.

Stevenage Borough Council types aren’t very happy with the track user – which is understandable as it’s kind of their job to say nice things about the area they work for – and over in the Valley of the Numb (social media) some have attacked the acceleration specialist while others have defended him, just like when anything else happens.

So, slums in Stevenage? As far as I understand the word ‘slums’ I think they were all eradicated in the UK a long time ago – but perhaps the word has wider, colloquial meanings, and I’m now guilty of the most appalling ignorance?

As for Stevenage, I’ve never been there. In fact, I’m not even sure where it is. Kent? Norfolk?

So, that’s three areas for debate should you want to contribute in the comments section:

  1. Is Lewis Hamilton an unforgivable buffoon?
  2. Are there such things as ‘slums’ in the UK today?
  3. Where is Stevenage?

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