I was just about to settle down with a nice cup of tea to watch a bunch of old codgers wend their way, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, section by section, through the Health & Social Care Bill. It’s Day One of the Committee Stage in the House of Lords. But I arrived at Parliament TV too early, so with time on my hands, I thought I’d have a blog about.
Before the kettle had boiled, I came across Outside Left’s cheeky little piece about another bunch of old codgers, this time those on the receiving end of the doubtful wisdom of the Intergenerational Foundation. (Whoever thought up that name needs help!) ‘The Intergenerational Foundation (IF) is a newly established non-party-political charity that seeks to promote the rights of younger and future generations in British policy-making.’ (It’s not often you see the words ‘political’ and ‘charity’ come together in one sentence. Very strange bedfellows – or perhaps that should be spare-bedroom fellows.)
‘The ability of groups in their late twenties and early thirties to ‘settle down’ and have children is running into the physical obstacle of the lack of housing space.’ according to IF. ‘There are now over 25 million empty bedrooms in under-occupied homes in England – rooms that are surplus to need based on the English Housing Standard. Very many of these are in the homes of the
retired, and by 2026 empty bedrooms in the homes of the retired will exceed 10 million.’
Well, you could knock me down with a feather! It’s all the fault of the retired older generation with a spare bedroom or two. Henceforth should they be known as ‘house hoarders’.
‘The rights of younger and future generations.’ Sod the rights of the current older generation! That section of the Great British public who will remember WWII, ration books, make-do-and-mend, hand-me-downs, cutting up a cardboard box to make inner soles to fit in shoes with holes in their soles, the outside toilet, a bath once-a-week, no showers, no central heating, no fridges, corporal punishment, toys and presents at birthdays and the midwinter festival only, life before the washing machine and the supermarket, and life with 15% mortgage interest rates or higher. ….. …… And yet, they’d never had it so good!
Harold Macmillan, PM: “What we need is restraint and commonsense – restraint in the demands we make and commonsense on how we spend our income.” So along came the wage freeze, tower blocks to solve the housing shortage created by that damned war and the increasing population, a man was sent into orbit in space, and later men walked on the moon. A collection of geeks invented things like video tape recorders and computers. Along came the Beetles, Mods and Rockers, drainpipes, winkle pickers. More men walked on the moon!
It’s estimated that it took 3 hours of work time in the mid-1950s to pay for a weekly basket of basic food items such as milk, butter and bread. Fifty years later, when all the emerging house-hoarders were showing signs of clinging onto their spare bedrooms, it took a mere 40 minutes work time to buy a similar weekly basket of food.
(The old codgers in the House of Lords have long since begun their deliberations, and I’m using it as radio. They’re not that photogenic, but they do sound good. They use a few good words to describe the Bill – ‘unspeakably awful’ and ‘wilful disregard’ might sum it up. If only they’d thrown it out!!)
Meanwhile, back at the Intergenerational Foundation: ‘The British ‘family home’ is increasingly not owned by families, but by older, post-reproductive couples and single people.’ The reason given for the lifecycle of housing breakdown is the ‘behaviour of older groups’.
Post-reproductive!! Just let the IF try to use the word post-productive – they really will meet the full g-force of the ‘behaviour of older groups’.
Tut-tut! Their behaviour gets worse – it’s even been known for older people to move into larger houses well after their chicks have flown off to their own nests. They are also to be found guilty of ‘over-consumption’.
A sideways glance brought my tea-deprived self back to yesterday’s revelation that the people charged following the riots in August in various parts of the country were in fact ‘poorer, younger and of lower educational achievement than average’ rather than the thugs, scum and vermin that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, in particular, would have us believe. IDS and his fellow MPs used many more foul words to describe these ‘poor, young people of lower educational achievement than average’ – and not many of the words used by our Representatives in the House of Commons were acceptable.
Of the young people involved, 42% were in receipt of free school meals compared to an average of 16%, and two-thirds of young people involved in the riots were found to have had a special educational need (SEN), compared to 21% for the national average
£300 daily allowance is paid to each unsalaried Lord who turns up and sits in the House of Lords. Our Noble Lords spent nearly two hours discussing the first amendment, before they voted. A total of 456 Lords voted on that first amendment.
456 x £300 = £136,800.00.
One amendment down – 399 or more to come!!
The IF may soon write the next Ten Commandments.
Thou shalt not misbehave.
Thou shalt not retire.
Thou shalt not want a spare room so that family and friends might visit
Thou shalt not house-hoard.
Thou shalt not over-consume.
Thou shalt not bedroom-block.
Thou shalt not expect governments to provide sufficient
housing for all.
Thou shalt not expect the younger generation to care about
Thou shalt not develop dementia.
Thou shalt not grow old.