British singles are not settling
for traditional one-bedroom flats anymore
A story published today by the London Telegraph reports that singlehood has become a
major force in the housing market in Britain. The number of single-person households is
nudging seven million, compared with 5.7 million a decade ago. A new survey by the Henley
Centre shows that the number of child-free single people buying large, multi-bedroom
detached houses on new estates.
Laing Homes, which commissioned the survey, has found that almost half the large
family-size houses in some London developments are being sold to people who live alone. A
sector that for so long has been dominated by the stereotypical image of cosy
child-centered bliss is being diluted by space-greedy singles.
At Montagu Road, an estate of 24 three-, four- and five-bedroom houses at Edmonton,
North London, no fewer than 13 have gone to buyers living alone. Laing is also building in
Oxford, where 10 singles have already bought on a development of 50 family-size houses by
Marjorie James, who works for the Arts Council, has just moved into a three-bedroom
house in Edmonton. "I felt cooped up in the flat I was in before," she says.
"I want to be able to eat, sleep, live and dine in different rooms. My family often
comes to visit me, and I have a daughter who comes and goes, so I need separate rooms for
There is a feeling among singles that the consumer world has geared itself to families
for too long, inadvertently marginalizing them and overlooking their needs. They want to
break free of the one-bedroom flat, give themselves space to hold dinner parties and to
invest their large disposable incomes on status symbols.
"Size is a way of saying they have arrived and can afford large houses just like
anyone else," says Steve Lidgate, the managing director of Laing.
"They do a lot of entertaining. They don't use their houses just to sleep in, but
maybe to have breakfast and dinner meetings, maybe to work at home. They might need a
study - somewhere to do their hobbies. Often they want stonking great master bedrooms,
while other bedrooms are turned into living areas."
Dr. Michelle Harrison, who led the Henley Centre's research, says it is a myth that
single people want small houses: 28 percent of new homes now have four or more
Another space-rich single is 34-year-old Andrew Ashby, who has bought a large
three-bedroom house at Waterways, Oxford, where he has three living-rooms.
"People think single blokes live in bedsits and behave like they do in Men
Behaving Badly. But we earn a lot of money, read style magazines, and I have a lot of
friends and family," he says.
"But it isn't just young singles. There are a lot of older and divorced singles
who don't want to go back to living in tiny places. My mum is alone and she is buying a
five-bedroom house so that she can have her grandchildren to stay. We are becoming a
nation of people living on our own."
British kids run away due to
poor relationships with parents
A story released today by Sky News (U.K.) reports that according to a report
released by the Childrens Society, one in nine youngsters in the UK will run away
for at least one night before the age of 16.
According to the study, poor relationships between parents and their children are the
major cause of young people running away from home. The study also showed that
communication problems in families often reach crisis point at times of major change such
as separation or divorce.
Children in step families are three times more likely to run away or be thrown out of
the family home than those living with their natural parents, while those in single parent
families are twice as likely to run away or be forced to leave.
"This research shows the most significant factor in running away is the quality of
relationships between children and parents."said Ian Sparks spokesman for
The study, entitled Home Run: Families and Young Runaways, was based on a survey of
13,000 teenagers aged 14 to 16 in 134 schools across the UK. Researchers also carried out
interviews with 200 young runaways.
An estimated 100,000 under-16s run away from home or from care every year.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Women associations in Morocco
seek to amend countrys personal law
A story released today by the ArabicNews.com reports that a group of nine
Moroccan women associations, unveiled in Casablanca a memo which focuses on reforms needed
in personal laws of the country.
Proposals contained in the memo are based on the principle of gender equality in
rights, duties and responsibilities. These principles which the group considers as the
central axis, should underlie all of the personal law provisions.
The group also felt that the marrying age should be set at 18 years for both men and
women and that both men and women should have the right to chose their spouse.
Other proposals introduced in the memo suggested that divorce proceedings should be
conducted by a judge in the presence of the two spouses and that properties and other
assets acquired during marriage should be equally divided in case of divorce. They also
propositioned that housework should be considered as a contribution to these properties
The group also requested the unification of custody conditions after divorce and to
allow both men and women to remarry and retain custody of their children.