United Living GEM’s head to Westminster
United Living GEM’s joined cross party MP’s and leading industry figures at Westminster 8th July to discuss and debate UK housing issues.
Via roundtable debates, speeches from MP’s and an opportunity to question an expert panel, GEM’s were able to talk about a wide variety of issues as well as share ideas on topics including welfare, skills and affordability.
The GEM’s who are part of United Living’s third intake are Xavier Saha-Cook, Jack Whetton and Donjeta Sejdiu.
Jack Whetton said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to walk through the doors of the Palace of Westminster and understand the day to day workings of the UK Parliament. There was the opportunity to meet with a number of MP’s and housing leaders to discuss some of the major housing issues that are facing the UK.
“One of the most prevalent discussions asked if the government is focusing too much attention on the construction of new homes and not the refurbishment of existing stock. Due to the nature of our work, I found the discussions surrounding modern methods of construction and modular homes, the skills shortage our industry faces and the unlocking of land at pre-planning value to be the most constructive in relation to my day to day work.”
Donjeta Sejdiu said: ‘It was an invaluable experience to see the amount of planning it takes for a project to become realised and to hear from the different groups involved in this process. We were given a rare opportunity to question leaders in housing including MP’s and charity workers. Overall, this experience will stay with all of us and be at the back of our minds as we progress within the industry.’
Xavier Saha-Cook said: “The Whitehall and Westminster GEM Shack has been the highlight of the GEM experience so far. We met so many influential individuals within the housing sector and had a chance to ask some real probing questions.”
The panel on hand was made up of Ian Burnett, Terrie Alafat, Kate Henderson and Lord Best, which between them covered representation from United Living, The Chartered Institute of Housing, National Housing Federation and House of Lords.