A few days ago, the owners of Homebase announced they are to close a quarter of UK stores because of the reality, they said, of “a generation less skilled in DIY projects”.

Harsh obituary writers were quick to point out that Homebase is overpriced and a bit, well, crap compared to B&Q, but the sobering truth is that the entire DIY sector has taken a hammering in recent years.

Some might argue that the demise of DIY is down to the fact that home ownership on the decline, as more of us are forced to rent, unable to get on the property ladder. (Thought: if Homebase had stocked “property ladders” maybe their fortunes would have improved?)

Yet, undeniably, today’s 20- and 30-somethings don’t seem to possess your traditional “dad skills”. The dismal fact that a mere five per cent of 18-24s would attempt to unblock a sink doesn’t bode well for humanity – unless you’re a plumber.

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