It’s all very well clapping them every Thursday night, but why not thank key workers properly when the Coronavirus storm blows over?
AT THE END of World War One, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George promised to build 500,000 new homes as a reward for the sacrifices ordinary people had made.
Only 200,000 of them were completed, but for many of those lucky enough to move into a new home, it was their first experience of electricity, running water, bathrooms, indoor toilets and gardens.
By 1939, more than a million council houses had been built across the UK, and in 1948 – three years after victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two – the Government again thanked people for their fortitude with the creation of the National Health Service (applause!).
The Coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the greatest challenge to face this country – and the world – since the 1940s, with ordinary people likes nurses, care home workers and bus drivers again at the forefront of the fight.
When all of this has blown over – and we look at ways of saying ‘Thank You’ to our key workers – we could do worse than building them somewhere decent to live again.
I remember when my Grandad, who was wounded at El Alamein, got a house for life in return for the terror and the hardship that he’d been through.
It had a garden – my Granny’s pride and joy – three small bedrooms and two living rooms, and they lived in it from the late 1970s until he died in 2003.
My Granny stayed then stayed on for another decade, until she had to go into a nursing home. To me, it all it seemed like a fair bargain for what my Grandad had done.
Why not build thousands of homes for the NHS workers and others who’ve proven themselves key?”
In many ways, my grandparents were luckier than today’s heroes and angels, because they had survived a major cataclysm that forced the establishment into doing the right thing.
Although we’ve known for decades that many of the low paid workers we all depend on can’t afford to get on the housing ladder, we as a society have done next to nothing about it.
That, surely, has to change this time round.
Of course, there are already shared ownership schemes where key workers can buy fractions of their homes in partnership with a housing association, but why not take this once-in-a-lifetime chance to be more generous and do something better?
Why not build thousands of homes for the NHS workers and others who’ve proven themselves key in the current crisis?
Let’s give them a greater share of the property in return for less investment, and build them bigger homes at the heart of comfortable developments – not just the scuzzy parts of more prestigious schemes that are accessed via ‘poor doors’.
It’s an overdue ‘Thank You’ and a start on a fairer society than this one”
And if that seems like too much of a giveaway, think of it in these terms: we’re going to need to build up our economy – sharpish – after all this.
Unless you’re keen on a bigger round of austerity than the one that hollowed out our health services, councils and schools last time round, it will be up to the Government to borrow – and invest – big and for the long-term.
It’s an overdue ‘Thank you’, and a start on a fairer society than this one – Levelling Up, I believe they call it in The Blue Corner. It’s also a way to get the building industry, its suppliers, and even property developers making some money again.
Homes Fit For Heroes II…
I like the sound of that…
Maybe we can get Danny Boyle to make the film?