I love Nick Knowles and his DIY SOS: The Big Build programme sums up my core attitude to housing policy. In it, people who have had a hard time get descended upon by a nice gang of builders who do up their house. The final scenes are normally the same: a grateful family, in tears of joy, say their lives have been changed forever.
And for the rest of the population, that’s why we have housing policy.
Knowles leads us through it with expert explanations of what’s going on, what the design hopes to achieve, how the plumbing works, and also holds interesting interviews with the family asking how they got into this position – in a nice non-judgemental way – and what difference a proper home will make to them. He has a natural ability to explain how fulfilling the most basic of needs – a decent home – can be transformational.
I have no idea how much it costs the BBC to put it together but they must be running the government close in the number of homes completed in the first 6 months of the year.
You can apply to be on the programme. As the BBC says, it is looking for major domestic construction projects to feature, and that they may be able to help ‘if you’ve had an unexpected change of fortune’. Well, tens of thousands probably qualify to come forward – people in temporary accommodation, overcrowded households, people who can no longer afford their accommodation due to HB cuts, etc.
If only the BBC and Nick Knowles could manage 100,000 projects a year. We’d be sorted.