Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, writing exclusively for satire website Newscrasher
I know some people find it ironic that at the 2015 election, my majority of 165 was smaller than the number of rough sleepers in Croydon.
But homelessness is no laughing matter. It is a moral stain, which I have helped to perpetuate thanks to my callous policies as Housing Minister.
The number of rough sleepers continues too rise year on year, in Croydon and nationally. This year, more than 10,000 children had to spend Christmas homeless or in temporary accommodation. It is a shame that Britain cannot do more to help, but due to our cruel and unnecessary policy of austerity there is simply no moneyto spend on things that do not demonstrably help the rich get richer.
And that is why as Housing Minister, I have tirelessly tinkered around the edges of the private rental sector, instead of doing things that would actually help people who are struggling to secure adequate housing for themselves and their family.
Labour claim that we need to build many more houses, including social housing, and to legislate to ensure that all housing is fit for habitation. But this would unfairly affect those Conservative voters who are landlords or who own their own home, and who fear a fall in rental income or a fall in the value of their property.
As the country’s top expert on right wing housing theory, I believe the best solution is to continue to restrict the housing supply, and to allow landlords to decide whether or not they want their properties to be fit for human habitation and free of damp and infestations.
In this way, we are providing more choice for tenants in terms of housing quality, making it easier than ever before for people who are currently poor or homeless to find an affordable housing solution.
Poor people in Croydon need to take much more responsibility for themselves, and try harder to take advantage of the opportunities associated with living in substandard accommodation.
An infestation of grotesquely large rats, for example, could be used to supplement a family’s consumption of fresh meat, or perhaps even provide an inexpensive family pet. A leaky roof could be used to fill a child’s bath without risking a large water bill at the end of the month. Mould growing in a damp corner could be used to cultivate penicillin to treat a family member’s chronic chest infection, without overburdening the soon to be privatised NHS.
Thanks to considerable pressure from me, these cost cutting measures were taken into account in the Chancellor’s last budget, when deciding how much to rob from the poor to give to the deserving rich.
To the poor or homeless people of Croydon Central, I say vote for me to stay stuck living in substandard but expensive housing, or on sleeping rough on the streets.