Wednesday, 16 September 2015


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I doubt anyone would failed to be moved by the images last week of a child found dead on a Turkish beach trying to flee the war zone that is Syria. It's a disaster on many levels and David Cameron has signed up to the UK taking 20,000 in the next four years. Compared to the generosity of other nations that is a drop in the ocean (certainly no pun intended) and taken from refugee camps, not the masses who have often paid smugglers to cross the Med.

I have got to say too, that I do agree with DC on that one. Not that I do that very often, but I can see the benefits of safe havens vs cash orientated smugglers who are as likely to abandon vulnerable people in the desert, or in a precarious rubber boat, to do a dangerous sea crossing. Also, I do wonder, where are the wider Muslim nations on the refugee radar? By all accounts, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt & Iraq have absorbed many millions of refugees from Syria, but there is little evidence that Saudi have taken many at all.

The graphic on this website illustrates the disparity . While Saudi, home of Medina & many origins of the Arab nations & cradle of Islam should be doing more, Europe for sure and the UK need to do its bit however.

When you get to practicalities, 20,000 refugees coming to the UK need to be housed somewhere. Scotland in some ways might actually be better placed to house many more refugees than England and already Wheatley, with its rump of Glasgow HA stock has already started to discuss how they can house people affected by the crisis.Good on them.

David Cameron has suggested that social landlords should be expected to help in this refugee crisis. Putting in place, "arrangements to house and support the refugees that we resettle".  Following a week when in parliament when Gideon Osbourne stated that  'The 1,500 state-backed providers of affordable properties are inefficient and their performance is “not particularly impressive”  '. That would suggest that this government would probably prefer to house refugees in the PRS. Quite obviously a part of the sector offering great value, choice, fairness and busting a gut to build lots of new homes. Or probably not in reality.

I think the fact that my new best friend DC will be relying on local authority RSLs and social housing providers, disproves the chancellors assertion. If the sector is so broken, how can it take up the slack of so many incomers. It will too, the people I work with care, they will make it work. Let's face it George, the PRS are looking at their bottom line. Remember that approx 30%+ of MPs are PRS landlords too. No surprise they are not going to vote for radical changes then.

Social Housing is a department of that great Tory idea now forgotten called the 'Big Society' (yes actually some of them have some good ideas, but sometimes the leopards spots don't change do they?). It can care and accommodate. That's what I am sure it will try and do. Places I work, already accommodate refugees, speak their language, enable them to build a better life.  

I don't seem to have George or Dave signed up to my blog, but if they were, I hope they would grasp the drift of why good cheap, flexible social housing is good for the UK and all its citizens. Also for providing the safety net for refugees arriving here. Dispensing social housing away as more Right To Buy (RTB) makes us poorer and less flexible as a nation. Ultimately, it will cost us and the taxpayers more.

There I was too, thinking that Gideon was into low taxation and minimum central control. Try letting #UKhousing sort it for you. I think you will be surprised how well it might go. If the government learns anything from this, is anyone's guess.

Related Post: Get your projects a name for goodness sake


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Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - RefugeeTom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Refugee.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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