So, after months and months of preparation, Homes England has arrived.
The Government announced today that the body formerly known as the Homes and Communities Agency has changed and will play a key role in delivering the 300,000 homes a year it has promised.
The change was trailed by the HCA over many months and was planned for last year after it was announced in the White Paper. The housing sector appeared to welcome it, judging by the use of the #WeAreHomesEngland hashtag on Twitter this morning.
Continue reading “Reasons to be upbeat after Homes England launch”
This Christmas was a good moment to reflect on what happened in 2017 and make plans for the year ahead.
Unusually for us, we haven’t travelled beyond Bristol this Christmas. Spending the festive break in Somerset provided an opportunity to really think about these things, as well as spend time with family and friends.
The last 12 months have been a hell of a time for me; memorable, challenging and exciting. It was a bit stop-start, with the snap general election disrupting projects whilst providing a new level of uncertainty for a government already absorbed by Brexit. Anyone remember ‘strong and stable’? It didn’t go well when the PM visited the South West and was a new low point for drab, one-way political campaigning in this country. It all feels like a different era now.
Continue reading “New year, new hopes and engagement approaches”
Listening to Gordon Brown speak in Bristol this week, it was easy to forget how heavily the burden of Prime Ministerial office appeared to weigh on him in 2010.
The former PM was here promoting his new book to a packed Wills Memorial Hall and spoke with conviction and humour about his life in politics.
He was also candid about the challenges faced by the global economy over the last decade, his role in addressing the crisis and the friction caused by the resulting fallout.
Here was a man at ease with himself, speaking about life with his kids, encounters with Nelson Mandela and even quoting Taylor Swift lyrics.
Continue reading “Gordon Brown highlights why authenticity matters”
Kelvin MacKenzie’s missive against Ross Barkley and the people of Liverpool reaffirms his status in the city as a uniquely offensive and mistrusted figure.
Twitter users quickly voiced disapproval of his column, which likened a young player of mixed-race heritage to a gorilla and made disparaging remarks about Scousers.
The reaction – as the city prepared for the 28th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster – highlighted widespread bafflement that the piece got past the editors in the first place. Fair enough. What the hell was he doing writing about Liverpool at any time, let alone now?
Continue reading “MacKenzie: our media is better than this”
The first hustings for the West of England’s mayoral candidates felt different to the usual tribal exchanges we’ve seen in recent elections.
It was a decent, intelligent debate with different ideas and approaches emerging about how to meet the region’s need for more housing, decent transport and a highly skilled, successful economy.
The region is six weeks away from electing the person who will oversee about £1bn in investment in addressing these three challenges.
Everyone seems to agree that these issues are crucial to the West of England’s future success. Anyone who lives or works in the area knows its traffic and housing problems can get people fired up.
Continue reading “Metro mayor: will we see a ‘nice’ election?”
“I am a man desperately in need of allies to help build the homes that we can agree are desperately needed in this country.”
Gavin Barwell, Housing Minister, 2 March 2017
I was in Taunton this week to see the housing minister’s white paper roadshow.
Gavin Barwell is at least the eighth housing minister I’ve seen in action since 2004. Five of those were on similar visits to the South West when I worked at the HCA.
To say that he’s inherited a tough gig is an understatement. The Housing White Paper has had a mixed response, which isn’t surprising for a sector with so many interested parties.
Continue reading “Three thoughts from the #housingwhitepaper roadshow”