The government is set to address the growing problem of homelessness by fitting the poor with snail-style shells as a cost-efficient and convenient home.
The shells will be fitted permanently to the home-seeker, and will provide excellent shelter in all weathers, as well as protection from predatory birds.
Government economists hope that after a small initial expenditure, the shells will solve the housing problem at a stroke by enabling the shellee to make their home wherever they happen to be standing at the end of the day.
“We’re tremendously excited,” explained housing minister Grant Shapps.“We see this as a natural extension of the council house ‘right to buy’ program of the ’80s, only with a lower barrier to entry, and shells instead of houses.”
Government tackles homelessness
Reaction from homelessness charities was cautiously optimistic.
“Once the stigma of being a shell-dweller has dissipated, we feel this could be an excellent solution,” said a spokesman.
“Few people realise how great a threat jackdaws and kestrels pose to the homeless, and this could solve the problem at a stroke.”
Industry representatives have also welcomed the scheme. The Association of Private Landlords is seeking assurances that investors will not be hindered in buying up huge swathes of empty shells as a thriving lower-end rental market begins to emerge.
There have been some suspicions that the wealthier parts of the country will not welcome a slow influx of the crustaceous poor, but councillors from the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea denied that there was any connection to their newly-announced year-round gritting and road salting programme
Building contractors are already in negotiations to build and fit the shells including several French firms expressing interest, with one describing the scheme as a ‘tasty opportunity’.