The Great British Property Scandal (C4)

Presenter George Clarke finds an open window and climbs through to squat in the empty building for the night – not something you might expect to see in a Channel 4 documentary.

But it’s true. In a hunt to discover why there are over 1 million empty properties (350,000 long-term empties) in the UK, George Clarke resorts to trying squatting for the night. The house he ends up in wasn’t a pretty site but is a great representation of the nightmare squatters often face.

Squatters don’t have it easy. Going in to places where buildings are falling down, there is no water, no toilet and no electricity is difficult – but this is the point. Squatters do such a good job in bringing buildings back into use and with 1 million properties lying empty across the UK (a 130% rise over the last 12 months in the Borough of Hackney) squatting makes sense.

In the documentary you are shown clips of rows and rows of houses lying empty – particularly in places in the North of England. Money is being spent on keeping these places empty with no benefit to communities. As George Clarke points out in his programme, surely the Government can see that criminalising squatting in the middle of a housing crisis is only going to make matters worse.

The documentary appeared as 2 episodes over 2 evenings on Monday 5th December and Tuesday 6th December. Both episodes are available on 4od here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-great-british-property-scandal/4od

And the campaign to fill up Britain’s empty homes has already gathered over 80,000 signatures. Add your name here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-great-british-property-scandal/articles/home/