Welfare 25 May 2007 A hodgepodge approach to housing Some unfortunate words about immigrants, the government's peculiar approach to green energy and the Print HTML Dear Marina, I am very upset. I have always been a loyal socialist albeit in a slightly patrician and up myself kind of a way. I recently said British families should be given housing priorities over immigrants and now that ghastly Alan Johnson has compared my language (aspirational Islingtonian) with the BNP's (inarticulate and trashy). What does the dreadful little postie think he's up to? Yours MH,Barking/Islington Stupid woman! Even the Tories under Michael Howard understood you could only ask: “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” No one expects a Labour luvvy to come out with a blatantly racist attitude to social welfare and justice. All councils, as I understand it, operate a points system whereby one’s points increase with time on the waiting list and all other points are awarded for various aspects of deprivation. More points for children, being a single parent, having more adults than bedrooms, illness, disability and so forth. I am not aware that any council takes into consideration the country of origin of those eligible for housing allocation. Indeed it’s probably a sackable offence to do so. Allow me to enlighten you with a few facts. Migrationwatch argues Government household projections are based on a "false assumption" that net immigration would be about 65,000 a year.Between 1996 and 2004, however, it had averaged 140,000 annually, says the group, which spends much money fighting the false bogeyman that is “mass immigration.” It concludes that 70% of the 370,000 housing shortfall - totalling 260,000 properties - had resulted from immigration above what had been anticipated.So far so BNP friendly. Now consider rising demand for housing caused by people living alone. The number of single person households increased from 2,977,000 in 1971 to 6,447,000 in 2006. This trajectory is set to continue with people living alone accounting for 72% of annual housing growth by 2026. And no it’s not all single mums; it’s the elderly, professionals and divorcees too. Meanwhile, over the last 30 years, the level of new house building has halved. So yes Ms Hodge, we do face a housing crisis - caused by consecutive UK governments which not only failed to address, but have - through poor policy decisions - made worse the current housing shortage. We can hardly blame the small-by-comparison number of people fleeing poverty and/or violence abroad – often as a result of our own foreign policies and increasingly our failure to act on climate change. Since Alan’s message appears to have fallen on deaf ears, I suggest you send a note to self Mrs Hodge: engage brain before speaking. Otherwise your Hodgepodge approach to the facts leaves you vulnerable to accusations of being a bit of a BNP supporting idiot. And it’s a very poor look! Dear Marina, As a Christian I am concerned that we are not doing enough to combat climate change. My local parish council is keen to put solar panels on the church roof. But we’ve had no joy from the government whom it was assumed would want to help us. What do you suggest we do? Green Worshiper As a pagan, I agree. In a week when the government shows once again that its attitude to nuclear power, clearly, is a positive one it is obvious that all encouraging words on renewables have been nowt but piss and wind. Example: Gordon Brown announces an extra £6 million funding for the Low Carbon Buildings Trust which provides grants for renewable energy projects. But two hours later the DTI closes down the scheme. It’s a case of talk global, postpone local, wouldn’t you say? Grants are back on next week, but the drop in recent business for renewable companies of between 40 and 60% mean many already have their noses squashed up against the wall as their businesses collapse. The DTI is obviously shagging the nuclear industry – in bed with is just too polite under the circumstances – and until that sorry department is abolished, we’ll have no positive way forward. So why not launch a project to ensure every home in your parish is equipped with energy efficient light bulbs – a switch of 27 million bulbs would see this country’s energy needs reduced by two power stations. If you still want to push ahead with a micro generation project, you now have to apply via the utilities companies, who frankly, have no interest in us switching power generation supplies, but have been tasked with the job anyway. God I’m depressed. Dear Marina, I can't believe it, the divorce (on hygiene grounds) was bad enough but now the ex has just robbed me – legally! Apparently as the homemaker she's entitled to part of my £131million beer money. What I want to know is how come she's the homemaker when we have a staff of 15 Filipino maids and the pile was built by Poles? Ill-used of Belgravia or somewhere Get over yourself. She’s only had 45% of the wealth you acquired as a married couple. I’m sure if life had been different – say after sixth form, where you met, you still got together but now found yourselves in debt. Then you wouldn’t be quibbling over her taking on board half the overdraft, now would you?Given you left her for tax reasons (moving to Bermuda! Lucky you), there must be savings in the kitty. Give your ex her dues and move on. Can’t give this any more thought – the Tories are trying to cancel our annual town fireworks display – I have some serious rebellion to organise. Not only that, but it’s the start of the festival season – so once I’ve got the local youths rioting, I’m off for a hot date round a campfire. Peace and love all. Will blog from a field next week – power supplied by renewable technologies OBVIOUSLY!!!! › Three things in no particular order Marina Pepper is a former glamour model turned journalist, author, eco-campaigner and Lib Dem politician. A councillor and former Parliamentary candidate, she lives near Brighton with her two children. Why not e-mail your problems to email@example.com? Subscribe More Related articles How Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership election How do I leave the Labour party? Will the Sugar Tax actually work?