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Initiative pays, not relying on help

19 June 2013

LAST week my father reached the age of 65 and can now look forward to retirement.

As someone who has spent his whole working life as a bricklayer and labourer, the last few years have not been easy for him.

He has been in and out of work – there being no shortage of construction projects in Sheffield, but a preference on the part of employers to give the work to Eastern European gangs. But he didn’t give up.

The self-reliance and desire to support himself never left him.

My parents taught me at an early age that no one is ever going to look after you, you have to look after yourself.

Shortly after I was born, my parents found themselves homeless. The local council said they would put me and my mother in a home and dad would have to sleep on the streets. That wasn’t good enough for dad.

Eventually they housed us in a condemned two-up two-down as a short term measure. There was no heating, no hot water and the rest of the terrace was inhabited by some pretty unsavoury squatters.

We were told we would be there for six months. We were there for five years. Eventually we were rehoused because the time had come to demolish the place.

My parents bought the myth that the council would look after them. It simply isn’t the case.

Thanks to the Right to Buy, my parents were able to take control of their own destiny and wouldn’t be beholden to the council again.

Week in, week out I see constituents who come to me about their housing situation and think it is only a matter of time before they get their three bedroom council house. It simply isn’t the case.

The fact is, if you work hard and do the right thing you will be very low down in the queue. We have introduced new initiatives which will help people buy.

And if you have a council property, think about buying it. That is going to be the best way of moving into a better property.

The fact is we do best when we help ourselves, not when we rely on the State to look after us.


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