|By Jo Roughton
'David Cameron tempted to offer tax breaks to hire cleaners.' So said the Guardian on February 10.
The PM's interest in the Swedish model of encouraging the legitimisation of domestic workers prompted a strong reaction in the UK press.
The idea had actually been the subject of a paper presented three years ago at the QEII Conference Centre to delegates attending a conference organised by the Home Renaissance Foundation.
The paper was presented by Monica Lindstedt, a former journalist who founded Hemfrid AB, the Swedish company which pioneered domestic help for working parents and which now employs more than 1,000 Swedes.
The Home Renaissance Foundation continues to organise a range of international conferences, looking at the role of the home in contemporary society. The next will be held in Italy later this year, in conjunction with Roma Tre University and New Zealand's Waikato University.
While its conference and seminar work continues, the Home Renaissance Foundation is repositioning itself as a think-tank. The decision was announced last year by the Home Renaissance Foundation chairman, Bryan Sanderson CBE. Bryan is a former chairman of Bupa, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Learning and Skills Council.
The Home Renaissance Foundation is a British registered charity. Its patrons include those with an interest in food and hospitality such as the chefs Prue Leith and Richard Corrigan. It also hosts workshops aimed at educating people in running a home professionally. One of its regular supporters is Aggie McKenzie, host of C4's How Clean Is Your House?
The Home Renaissance Foundation has offices in Shoreditch although it retains strong international links. Its directors include some noted academics, such as Professor Sophia Aguirre, who was appointed by the White House to a Congressional Committee on diplomacy and Professor Rosa Lastra, of Queen Mary's College, who has worked as a consultant for the IMF and is a former director of the International Finance and Business Program at Columbia University.
* The Home Renaissance Foundation is inviting papers to the 'Home & Identity' Conference on November 14-15, 2012. The deadline for the submission of paper abstracts is May 30. Full details at: http://wms-zolton.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/depts/tourism/hr/index.html