Hidden in a cluttered courtyard behind an off-licence in Forest Gate, east London, is a narrow brick building no bigger than a shed that a family of four calls home.
Asah (not her real name), her husband and two young daughters all share this ramshackle structure, built illegally by its owner to make money from desperate tenants such as her. Thousands of similar buildings exist across the country – many occupied by immigrants with little choice but to live in these dangerous and cramped conditions – and more are built every day. They are described by housing campaigners as Britain’s “modern-day slums” or, more euphemistically, “sheds with beds”.
A vast £50m penthouse as large a seven-bedroom house has been planned for the top of the Shard, Europe's tallest skyscraper, it has been reported.
The centre-piece of the opulent two-level residence in London – which will take up the entirety of floors 64 and 65 and be the highest home in Europe – will be the dining hall. There, the host will have access to food from the kitchens of the Shangri La hotel below, as well as its swimming pool on the 52nd floor.
Never mind: remember that we're all in this together.