TV

George Clarke: 'Britain needs a big, positive, and radical reboot'

The architect and TV presenter’s social housing masterplan has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. In this week’s Big Issue, he issues a rallying cry to rebuild Britain with affordable and environmentally friendly homes

George Clarke's Council House Scandal

George Clarke’s no stranger to building things – but even he must have been surprised at how quickly his social housing campaign grew last year.

The architect, TV presenter and social housing champion asked the Government to end the housing crisis that has gripped Britain for years by building 100,000 affordable homes every year for the next 30 years.

And plenty of people agreed with him – more than 265,000 people signed his petition, released to mark the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act that put housing in the hands of councils.

But, in a piece written exclusively for this week’s Big Issue magazine as part of our After the Virus series, Clarke reveals that the pandemic has sent the campaign back to its foundations. He’s now been forced to delay the next steps of his mission to get Britain building to 2021.

And he tells The Big Issue that the virus needs to represent a chance to rethink how we do things, particularly when it comes to housing.

“We cannot let this virus send us backward. Against all odds, we need to be positive and push forwards,” Clarke says. “For me, if there is one positive thing that should come out of this horrendous pandemic and difficult lockdown it’s for our government, our businesses and corporations, and for everyone in society to take the time to consider how we might live our lives differently in Britain to the benefit of EVERYONE in the country.

“Covid-19 is indiscriminate and in some ways, you could say it has levelled out society. It has shown that every single one of us is vulnerable because we have all been affected by this. But, unfortunately, some are more far more vulnerable than others.”

To read more from Clarke as well as funny men Ricky Gervais, Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Beckett and Russell Howard, get your hands on this week’s Big Issue magazine.

You can pick up your copy in Sainsbury’s, McColl’s, Co-op, Asda and WH Smith or on The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store and Google Play.

You can also subscribe to receive the latest copy every week to your device through the app or in print to your door. Head to bigissue.com/subscribe for details.

As ever, 50 per cent of the proceeds from every purchase go towards Big Issue vendors, helping The Big Issue support them through self-isolation while they are temporarily unable to sell the magazine on the streets.

George Clarke presents The Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and is founder of housing charity MOBIE

This article is part of The Big Issue’s ongoing After The Virus series. To read more brilliant people plotting a path for Britain beyond the pandemic lockdown, head here.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Rebus star Richard Rankin on TV reboots, defying his late dad's advice and getting his arse out
TV

Rebus star Richard Rankin on TV reboots, defying his late dad's advice and getting his arse out

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith on friendship, TV and saying goodbye to Inside No 9
TV

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith on friendship, TV and saying goodbye to Inside No 9

Doctor Who star Millie Gibson on hope for Ruby Sunday and lessons learned from 'magical' Ncuti Gatwa
TV

Doctor Who star Millie Gibson on hope for Ruby Sunday and lessons learned from 'magical' Ncuti Gatwa

Marge starts a union and fights for workers' rights in powerful new episode of The Simpsons
TV

Marge starts a union and fights for workers' rights in powerful new episode of The Simpsons

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know