[Ben Reeve Lewis looks into the future …]
Frazzy has been through the wars this week. First she went into Kings College Hospital to have a tooth out.
This involved cutting into the gum and an hour’s pulling. Black people’s teeth have deeper roots apparently.
Then whilst there the anaesthetic sent her blood pressure through the roof so they had to stop.
As a result she has had loads of blood taken for a variety of tests and had to go 16 hours without eating, while I constantly face-booked her photos of fry-ups and curries to wind her up.
As regular readers will know I am a recent recipient of hearing aids, having lost 40% of my hearing in the music business. None of us is getting any younger.
Time’s winged chariot …
Did anyone watch ‘Les Revenants’, the French series on Sunday nights about the dead coming back? I noticed that with subtitles I tend to turn the volume up for some reason. Frazzy puts on her glasses and turns the volume down.
See we’re getting old and cranky already and we’re not the only ones.
Retirement home worries
I read this week in Inside Housing that an Ipsos Mori poll carried out for Age UK amongst nearly 1,000 people over 50 revealed that far from looking forward to retirement 23% are constantly worried about being made homeless because they are struggling with their housing costs.
The BBC also picked up on the same story this time quoting Anita Hunt, a housing adviser in Lincolnshire:-
“Wages are effectively dropping, or they are out of work for the first time ever due to redundancy or ill health, and are floundering,”
I’m in the same business as Anita and I am seeing more and more people in that age group chiefly facing mortgage repossession.
Mortgage companies show their compassion …
The Council for Mortgage Lenders would have us believe that their company’s are going easier on people in difficulty. If that’s true why is the pile in my mortgage repo in-tray higher than it was two years ago?
And why was I in court a couple of weeks back getting a warrant of eviction suspended the day before a lock change with a 63 year old man who has less than £2,000 arrears and £170,000 worth of equity.
Lenders being more sympathetic? Altogether now…..”My arse”.
Prisk opens up the coffers
Us lot in housing advice land got a lovely personal letter from Mark Prisk the Housing Minster this week, tut-tutting about rogue landlords and saying gravely “This will never do”.
He has decided that if councils are to do what Shelter wants them to do and take more action against rogue landlords then we need more money to help. So he has made £3 million available to councils.
Now if I woke up one morning and went to the cash machine and saw £3m in my account I would be a happy man indeed, certainly not fearful of homelessness or housing costs but bear in mind there are 333 councils in Britain, that means less than £10,000 each on average.
A final solution?
What can we do with that? Probably the best use of it would be to hire a hit man to take out one or two of our repeat known offenders. Hows that for a radical suggestion Shelter????
The Guild of Residential Landlords also picked up on this initiative saying:-
“What is the head of a rogue landlord worth I wonder?”
Of course not all 333 local authorities will be putting in bids, I can’t imagine Rutland being awash with beds in sheds but I’ll bet most of the London councils will be throwing their hats into the ring.
I have been charged with composing our bid to get some dosh to take on a new adviser to deal with the growing problem of disrepair.
Most Environmental Health teams are concentrating only on prosecuting under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
Legal aid has been cancelled for disrepair cases and solicitors who know how to calculate damages in quantum are very thin on the ground, so there is a vast army of tenants out there living with broken doors, holes in the ceiling and rising damp and nobody to help them out.
Come on Mr P, get your wallet out.
Back on the ageing thing I read with interest an article on Planet Property about a new housing market in gay retirement villages.
Apparently the Gay and Lesbian group Stonewall estimate that there are between 871,045 and 1,219,470 gay people over 55 in the UK. Is it me or is that the oddest statistic you’ve seen for sometime?
Why not “Between 800,000 and 1.2 million? Why are those figures so specific? Is there a register?
The article reports on the “Village-Canal du Midi”, development in South West France, where spokesperson for the Villages Group, Danny Silver says:-
“The great weather, French gastronomy and picturesque location provide perfect reasons to spend your latter years here across the Channel, coupled with increasing tolerance towards the gay community and the legalisation of gay marriage, The Villages Group – Rainbow offers the perfect opportunity to live out your days with pride”
South West France……that’s where Annecy is and Annecy is where they filmed Les Revenants. I’m not going there then, as attractive as it appears to pretend I’m Gay to get a place in the sun for my old age I’m not moving somewhere where that scary kid Victor lives, even if he is just acting, he’s spooky.
Bad news on bedroom tax challenge
Of course I couldn’t let a topical news review go by without acknowledging the housing news story of the week, the lost high court case on bedroom tax discriminating against the disabled.
To make up for my earlier jibes at Shelter I will reference their excellent article written by Kate Webb on the Shelter blog.
The High Court acknowledge that the hated tax does discriminate in some circumstances they held that the DWP under Iain Duncan-Smith had recognised this and had given an additional £25m to the Discretionary Housing Payment fund.
Ms Webb pointed out:-
“The danger has always been that the cash-limited pot simply will not go far enough to support all those that need it, and the discretionary nature of the fund means families cannot guarantee if they will be successful.”
Of course an appeal will go in now but I do sense the establishment closing ranks on this one.
And so another newsround ends and I bid you adieu as Frazzy with her blood pressure and me with my hearing aids waddle off into the sunset like the silhouette on those road signs warning of old people crossing, worried about losing our homes and seriously considering posing as a gay couple and moving to France whilst hiding in the trees in case Victor comes around.