Advertisement
TV

Strictly’s Greg Wise has a plan to solve the housing crisis

“Property is built to live in. It is not a commodity, it is a right. That shouldn’t be crazy talk, should it?” says Strictly’s Greg Wise.

Actor. Activist. Dancer. The talents of Greg Wise know few limits (although his Strictly Come Dancing samba was not one of the all-time-greats). But housing expert? You better believe it.

As Wise returns to the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom for one last dance at the glitzy final on Saturday, we asked the trained architect how to solve the housing crisis…

“In 12 words or less? We fix Britain’s housing crisis by – oh god, where do I fucking start? Here’s a big one: you shouldn’t be able to pay your way out of building affordable housing. Unfortunately, almost all the schemes that have a legal requirement to include affordable housing can pay the fine and just not do it.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

“We have no affordable housing anymore. It’s gone. And the attitude is: ‘we’re building this big bit of loveliness for posh people, we don’t want to have the poor folk living here’.”

It should be illegal to own a property and not live in it”

“And if 30% of the expensive housing being built is lived in, I would be surprised. Everything is bought as an investment. So we are fucked, because if the interest rate is a 0.25% and the average increase in house prices is 7% per year, what do you do with your money? You don’t put it in the bank, you buy property. And you don’t want anyone living in it – you don’t want your skirting boards scuffed.

“There was a development near where I live where every unit was sold before they’d start digging a hole. Half the units were re-sold before they’d finished. And this probably has, at most, 50% occupancy. So most of it was just bought as an investment.

Advertisement
Advertisement

This is Tory damage, isn’t it?

Greg Wise

“There are ways of working out whether a place is lived in. It’s like the old brass plaque companies, you know? Where you can start a company for 50 quid and that’s a way of channelling tax avoidance.

“This is Tory damage isn’t it? It’s Persimmons and everyone, who all give the Tories half a million or whatever and all end up being knighted. And fucking Robert Jenrick bending over backwards to try to get Richard Desmond planning permission for all his shit.

The Big Issue TV

Showcasing documentaries on the topics that matter the most.

Award-winning documentaries hand picked by The Big Issue. Use promo code 'BIGOFFER' to get your first month free of charge.

“But the amount of brownfield sites that aren’t being used and the number of buildings that aren’t being lived in – that’s what is most cruel and most evil. Because these places are there.

“So it should be illegal to own a property and not live in it. Or you should be taxed through your nose so it’s just not worth your while investing in.

“Property is built to live in. It is not a commodity, it is a right. That shouldn’t be crazy talk, should it? But at the moment it’s a radical notion.”

The Strictly Come Dancing final is on 18 December

If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
David Harbour would rather grow up in the time of Stranger Things than be a kid today
TV

David Harbour would rather grow up in the time of Stranger Things than be a kid today

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'
TV

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'

Rowan Atkinson: ‘I always liked the definition of art as the rejection of the status quo’
Comedy

Rowan Atkinson: ‘I always liked the definition of art as the rejection of the status quo’

Love Island star Brett Staniland on his surprising fight against fast fashion
TV

Love Island star Brett Staniland on his surprising fight against fast fashion

Most Popular

Read All
Thousands march in London to protest low pay and rising cost of living
1.

Thousands march in London to protest low pay and rising cost of living

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'
2.

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'

Margaret Beckett: 'People think Boris Johnson would be a good laugh in the pub. He'd be late and not get a round in'
3.

Margaret Beckett: 'People think Boris Johnson would be a good laugh in the pub. He'd be late and not get a round in'

What really happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue
4.

What really happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.