Grant Shapps thinks people could live in boats.
Grant Shapps thinks people should live in boats.
Yes I know I said it twice, but seriously, I might even type those words again in the vain hope that I will believe that he actually said that (he did) or that it makes sense (nope – it still doesn’t.)
A few years back, I interviewed the great man himself. This was of course some time before he could sit in his lair with a glint in his eye, dreaming up new and increasingly bizarre solutions to the housing crisis.
Crisis? What crisis? Yes, we have a housing crisis: housing benefit cuts are propelling large numbers of tenants towards fewer properties (well ones they can afford if they are now, or likely to be claiming benefits.) I’ve said before that surely that would be best achieved by revitalising rent officers, allowing them to set tight rent controls, rather than cutting benefits and hoping landlords will drop their prices (why would they where this is a shortage of properties?)
We need to build large affordable homes on city centre sites, under the Parker Morris standards. We can build them in skyscrapers or in well-designed low rise developments, not the Dovecots I have written about in the past. I doubt that developers are queuing up to build boats. (It just sounds sillier every time I type it.)
This will be a nightmare. Now, Grant when we met, was very keen to emphasise his admirable campaign for realistic rough sleeping figures, to the extent that he spent a well-publicised night sleeping outdoors one chilly Christmas eve. But apart from this, nobody in government seems to have grasped the reality of housing, such as the supply and demand part, and we are still in a febrile buy-to-let scenario, where owners still believe they are entitled to ramp up rents and luxuriate in money. Didn’t that used to be called profiteering?
But back to the boats. It’s already hard enough to get a mooring for a residential barge, I am led to believe. Does he mean we should all go on a cruise? As jolly as that would be, it’s hardly practical: the obesity crisis would be worsened by those notorious 24-hour buffets, and what if you are sea-sick?
Does he mean we should join the navy? Defence cuts will see to that. Rowing boats? Yachts? Well, I’ve fancied sailing in yling-yling just because I like the sound of the word. Or does he mean that blameless citizens, tax payers and claimants alike should be herded off into prison ships and forced to wade ashore every morning, that’s if they aren’t intercepted by pirates. Every child’s dream, but not very nice, even if we are piped ashore by lovely sailors.
Boats are not the answer. Not for nothing are boats big enough to live in long-term usually the preserve of the stupidly rich.
Grant, Grant Shapps – Grant Shapps are you out there? Earth to Grant Shapps!!! You are deluded, you are causing harm and your latest utterance is an absolute load of coracles.