Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Me, in the Journal, defending social housing

Photographer Sally Ann Norman & RTK with our shared endeavour
Yesterday I continued to develop the arguments made in my new book Our House, Your Home: The Past, Present & Future of Social Housing, with an article for the Newcastle Journal, given a headline just as bald as me: 'Writer Richard T Kelly on the need for social housing in the North East'. I'm told that the print edition had a picture of me on the front page with the strapline 'Leave your snobbery at the door', the idea of which appeals enormously. The feature itself ran over two full pages in the Agenda section in the middle of the paper.

Here is a pair of paragraphs as a sample of the whole:
'... By this analysis, housing only takes its place in the larger set of socio-economic problems that have beset the North East for all my life. We still routinely have the highest unemployment rate of all the English regions, and the highest proportion of employees in the public sector. Not that there are too many public sector jobs in the North East – we want all the jobs we can get. But as Lord Adonis identified in his North East Independent Economic Review of 2013, we need more (better-paid and higher-skilled) private sector employment to begin to dream of significantly more new housing.

As we know, this region still makes things and exports them, manufacturing generating about 15.5% of the region’s total Gross Value Added. Nissan, though, comprises a notably big chunk of those figures. New businesses, especially hi-tech ones, are now getting born in the North East at an encouraging rate, and people who instinctively believe that ‘not enough is done’ for the region might yet be surprised by what people in the region can do for themselves. But that growth remains a work in progress.'

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