First Homes Consultation

I strongly support the aim of the First Homes proposal. More people want to own their own home than currently can afford to do so. We need more affordable homes for sale.

The essence of the proposal is twofold. The first is that some of the large gains that landowners and developers stand to make on the grant of planning permission should be shared with First Home buyers by giving them a discount on the normal market value of these new homes, paid for out of the money that is released by the development. The second is that a buyer of such a home accepts a restrictive covenant on the property that means when they come to sell they need to offer  a similar percentage discount to the buyer that they enjoyed on purchase.

I have no problem with the idea that some of the gains on development should be shared with buyers. Currently these gains are effectively taxed to allow the state to spend more money on supporting community infrastructure and on affordable homes to rent. It is no greater distortion of the market to allocate some of the winnings to subsidise affordable homes to buy instead. It has the advantage from the state’s point of view that the buyers take responsibility for repairs and maintenance, whereas with rented social housing the obligation remains with the state or Housing Association. Given the strong wish of many people to buy not rent, surely we should do more to help them.

The second proposition is a new intervention in the housing market. It means creating a parallel market to the primary market for buying second hand homes out of a group of people who qualify for the scheme. This will only work if the pool of such people is sufficiently large so a potential vendor of a First Home has enough potential  buyers to make a decent market. The Consultation wishes to limit the ability of First Home owners to rent out their property, as it has to be their home that they live in , and asks about reward for improvements. The danger in the scheme is the person will suffer a discount on the improved value of the home, not just on the underlying investment. So if someone bought a two  bedroom First Home but was able to add two more bedrooms and extra downstairs accommodation they might not get back all they had spent on such a substantial extension given the application of the discount. The more restrictions that are placed on the First Home buyer the less attractive it is as a proposition, and the less like normal home ownership it becomes.

My view is I would rather share some of the gains with a First Home buyer than with some  local Councils and their choice of projects to spend planning gain receipts on. We should not be afraid to help make people a  bit better off by allowing them to buy a home at a discount.It is difficult to stop them renting out their homes if they suddenly get a requirement to work abroad for their employer or if an elderly person has to go into a long  stay care home.

For this to work the rules need to be flexible. The issue is who should qualify? There does need to be some means test to stop people with substantial capital or high earnings from cashing in . The aim is to help local people, veterans and key workers like teachers and nurses.  There does also need to be a cap on the price of property involved. I suggest this should be done by principal Council area from average prices in that area, where the cap is not above the average price.  There will only be a satisfactory secondary market in First Homes if this is done at scale.

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  1. Iain Gill
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Don’t agree at all, it’s just more clumsy social engineering.

    The state should get out from constantly manipulating the market, except looking after the most needy, proper immigration controls.

    The state should give more freedom, remove catchment areas in both schools and healthcare.

    Stop giving other people’s money away, which is all this is.

    These are not conservative policies.

    Mrs T will be rolling in her grave.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      We should give education voucher to parents that they can spend at the schools they choose and top up should they wish too. We should encourage more employers and individuals to use private health care and/or insure. Please on waiting lists for say hip and knee ops should be give a voucher for say 50% of the cost if they top up and go privately. This shortens the list for the others and saves the NHS 50% of their op. Freedom and choice please not this dire, socialist, state rationing, incompetence and delay system.

      • graham1946
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Sounds like a nice easy solution. Trouble is how? Where are all these schools that parents can choose from? As things stand, many can’t get their children into their first choice local school and many are having to split up children into two different schools, adding further to the school run. and many are bused many miles away. Similar for surgeons. Where are all these surgeons twiddling their thumbs? Most private hospitals use NHS surgeons in their spare time. I wouldn’t want any surgeon without a case load working on me if they are sitting about getting rusty. If your suggestion is carried out, then it would probably become a full time private industry to the detriment of the NHS and even longer waiting times would ensue and greater cost. They won’t be doing it cut price, that’s for sure. The real problem is we don’t have enough teachers or doctors whether GP’s or juniors or consultants.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Well you allow the good schools to expand and give the schools more freedom and encourage more and more private schools. Give people freedom and choice (in education and health care) rather than you already paid the tax so you get what you are given and lump it.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Yes just cram some more kids into the good schools.

            That will end well

        • Hope
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          Ten housing ministers in ten years of thus Tory left wing govt. Sad to see JR proposing left wing state intervention proposals. I have an idea how about implementing govt policy to cut mass immigration. It is not possible to build enough houses to keep up with mass immigration and consequent birth rate of the same, the same is true with public services.

          Johnson’s Blairite/Miliband policy of tax and spend is disgraceful for a Tory Govt. Taxation at a fifty year high! Deficit still present five years after Tory govt promised it would be balanced. Debt still growing when we were told it would be paid down by now.

          Thes pending of £106 billion on a single railway journey beyond paradox when our roads are in such a disgusting overcrowded state. People standing on trains from Devon to London! Same for many other routes around the country. Johnson then pays £100 billion to leave the EU when he said they could go whistle and there is no legal right for thus money, our taxes!

          Why do we need so many ministerial posts? Is it to buy off MPs?

        • Iain Gill
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          The Australian, New Zealand, Belgian, Italian etc health and school systems work much better. In all the parents have far more control over the school decision, patients have far more say over which health care provider they use. The fantasy that our system is better is laughable.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:27 am | Permalink

            FREEDOM AND CHOICE TO PARENTS AND PATIENTS. Not we have your money already so Hobson’s choice mate, take it or leave it.

      • glen cullen
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Unintended consequences of allowing parents freedom of choice on schools includes; school runs criss-crossing the city, no local community identity, lack of local school friends, difficult of after school activities due to distance and reliance on transport rather than walking.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          Sure and we should all shop in the same supermarket too.

          Don’t be silly.

          • glen cullen
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            up until 25yrs ago under local education authorities every child went to their local school….what was wrong with that

        • Fred H
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          they have so much freedom of choice that you are required to provide first 4 school nominations at secondary level.
          Thats choice?

          • Iain Gill
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 1:29 am | Permalink

            Anyone moving house in practice has little choice of school in the new area, is one massive problem, current choice as it exists only works for people who have been in one address a long time. Money does not follow current choice forcing the rubbish schools to shut like it would with supermarkets. And so much more, the whole catchment area nonsense don’t work and is very inefficient.

          • Fred H
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Iain – – I think you made my point.
            Requirement to list 4 schools is because the local Authority cannot guarantee your child will go the nearest Sec. school. Or even 2nd or 3rd choice. I doubt the present coachload ( or 2 or 3) of schoolchilden from the Shinfield area still coming to the Forest (Winnersh) were there by parental choice.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      The ‘market’ got us where we are. Council houses haven’t been built for donkey’s years and many have been sold off into the ‘market’ and are now being rented out at much higher prices. Lowest BoE bank rate ever, but the ‘market’ rate is still many multiples. Houses sold at ‘market’ rate even if they cost half the price to build (how else could a builder gives its CEO a 75 million pound bonus for one year). Result, insufficient being built, even though there are land banks available. The market is not being manipulated by government but by ‘the market’.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        It is not a true market Graham, it is subject to government interference. But with some kind of social housing being a necessity there will always be interference. What shouldn’t happen is the prices being propped up artificially by government like help to buy and keeping interest rates unnecessarily low. That ship has unfortunately sailed.

        I think that Council House sales should be subject to the same discount covenant as described above and no council house should be sold if it does not generate sufficient funds to build two replacements.

    • NickC
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Iain Gill, You are completely correct. The government is saying: “Something must be done about housing” – “This is something” – “Therefore we must do it”.

      When is this sort of nonsense going to stop? There are only two options to make more houses available – increase supply, or reduce demand. These proposals do neither – they just increase bureaucracy, loopholes, unfairness, top-down arbitrariness, and costs.

      These proposals are just a disguise, and so a cheat. Either the government must make more land available for housing, or stop immigration. Those are the hard facts.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:29 am | Permalink


    • forthurst
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I doubt Mrs Thatcher will be disturbed at all. She was in favour of selling Council houses at substantial discounts in order to buy the votes of erstwhile Labour supporters. I recall a conversation with someone who had bought their council house at a discount and she were very anti-Tory because her mother was having to wait too long for a hip replacement. I have reported on this site before that an area which was developed as a council estate locally is now a mixture of council houses and private rental properties. Not many Tory votes there but plenty of landlords raking it in. Buying votes with council’s cash or taxpayers cash as with this new scheme is disreputable third world behaviour.

      I’m still perplexed as to how the discount on a resale under this new scheme can be determined or policed. I strongly suspect the government will simply turn a blind eye once they’ve created the local headline. However, when people are prepared to queue for days for some events, how long will people be queuing for discounts worth several years salary to some people.

      Here’s a suggestion: why not announce a few policies which would make people vote Tory without bribing them? Start with an end to immigration full stop: we are not a business corporation; we are nation of people who in my recollection called themselves English etc who all spoke the same language and shared the same culture and did not fear their fellow countrymen.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      The envisaged covenant which John describes is not a restrictive covenant. It is a positive one, instructing the covenantee to do something which will cost him money.

      The law in this regard is well established and clear. Such covenants are normally only binding on the original parties.

      So a successor-in-title would not be subject to that obligation – unless an Act of Parliament changed the law.

      However, that would be highly complex, with all manner of possible unintended consequences.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Sorry, covenantor.

  2. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    This has all the hallmarks of a scam for clever people. We should start by establishing who is living in social housing because in many cases its not who the council think it is.
    If you got a grip on immigration then houses would become more affordable.

    • Shirley
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Agreed. These ‘fixes’ just deal with the symptoms, and never deal with the root cause.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Root cause too few houses and too many people wanting them.

        Build more houses by relaxing planning and cutting the OOT green crap building regs and taxes on housing (or let fewer people in to cut demand) – it is hardly rocket science.

        • Al
          Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          Half our town centre is empty office space, and several of the buildings have been condemned, yet the council won’t give permission for them to be torn down and converted into flats. Yet they have just granted planning permission on the only local park, over residents objections.

          There really is some odd thinking going on here.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            Well they own the park I assume! So they will profit from its development?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Indeed people in social housing should pay the full market rent if they can afford to otherwise why would they ever move out. Also it is grossly unfair competition to private landlords. Why should someone in social housing have £100 more disposable income per week than the chap next door earning the same but paying the full market rent?

      • graham1946
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Why do rents cost so much? My sister lives in a rented house which is over 120 years old, so I don’t expect there is much mortgage to pay and getting repairs done is like finding hens teeth. The rent is of course, ‘market’ – i.e. greed and is very high.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Well it is supply and demand she obviously prefers where she is living to the other options open to her or she would move one assumes?

          Also rent includes insurance, maintenance, letting fees, boiler inspection and the likes and so is not comparable to a mortgage. Whether there is a mortgage on the property or not is irrelevant to its market rent! Are you really suggesting people who have paid of the mortgage should get lower that market rent and people with big ones higher?

          • graham1946
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            What other options? People, even renters regard it as their home, not just a profit centre as you would see it. How can a renter reduce the rent, when there is a ‘market’ – i.e. the highest price the renter can bear? Where could she move to? Somewhere where there are no jobs, friends etc. just to provide the landlord with another person struggling to pay? Houses on a mortgage are obviously more costly for a landlord to operate so it is not irrelevant. Once a property is paid for, the profit is much higher. That that is surely a given and no, I don’t believe that excess profit subsidises someone else. Why should it? Every unit should provide a reasonable profit, not a bonanza.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            It is irrelevant to its market rental value.

        • Bob
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          The market is usually decided by supply and demand, until the govt step in and import millions of unskilled people and then use taxpayers money to rent property for them.

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; “We should start by establishing who is living in social housing because in many cases its not who the council think it is.”

      That sort of scam is far more likely in the private rented sector than it is the LA sector, hence why previous governments placed legal requirements on private letting companies to positively-vet the status of their clients before accepting their business.

      “If you got a grip on immigration then houses would become more affordable.”

      Of course if the govt simply got a grip of the need to build more housing stocks (social or private), like the (real) Conservative government of the 1950s did, then houses would become more affordable. Mots of our hosing problems are affecting UK Passport holders, not the minority of migrants who have entered the UK in the last 30-40 years.

      The problem is “the market”, and as such the market will never be the solution all the time it is not in the interests of “the market” to solve the problems…

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        The problem is not the market Jerry – it is the fact that the market is distorted by government intervention all over the place. Social housing, housing benefit, help to buy, immigration.

        • jerry
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          @NS; The market is governed by supply and demand, if demand is high but the supply is low the price goes up, if demand is low and their is plentiful supply the price collapses, we see this in the crude oil market for example, also when there is a skills shortage those with the skills can demand a higher salary, if the jobs market is awash with a skill set employers know they can offer lower salaries. The housing sector is no different.

          Why would any building company choose to build so many new homes that the market price collapse ?! Especially when these large building companies are duty bound to maximise their profits to their investors. Why do builders tend to stop building when the housing markets collapse, after all the number of needed homes has not changed, only the value…

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            Building companies build houses Jerry. If they don’t they make lower profits and their executives lose their jobs and bonuses.

            They will build because that is what they do unless they become supermakets.

          • jerry
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            @NS; “[Building companies] build because that is what they do unless they become supermakets.”

            Unless of course they build a few supermarkets instead, rather than build houses they can not make a profit on!

            Builders and developers only build profitable developments, if they did not they would soon go bust, that is why in a market down-turn you often see half finished houses on building sites!

            Also I have never known any builder, large or small, who only ever builds houses, much other work available from maintenance to commercial & industrial to keep them afloat when housing turns south, after all many home owners will opt to improve rather than move in such a market.

            There are a few very large housing developers but they have other sources of revenue, besides new build, as some buyers have found to their cost…

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Granted Jerry – but they would learn to live with lower margins (or make more on the finance margin)

      • NickC
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Jerry said: “not the minority of migrants who have entered the UK in the last 30-40 years”. It depends what you mean by “minority”. If the implication is a very small number compared with native born, that’s questionable. If you mean a very small number which hasn’t affected demand for housing, then you’re wrong.

        There are officially over 9 million people in the UK who were not born here. In reality that is an under-estimate (yes, the numbers are only estimates!). Either 3 million migrants going home, or 1 million more houses would lower house prices, other things being equal. That the high prices of houses is due to under-supply or over-demand is an inescapable fact.

        • jerry
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; I was talking about the overall population count, your cite “There are officially over 9 million people in the UK who were not born here”, so call it 10m, that is a minority compared to the last census count was c. 63m (the 2019 estimate, being 67.5m), even allowing for the fact it includes children, so say 40m adult population.

          Of course any rise in the population will affect the availability of homes if not enough have been built, stop mixing up cause and effect!

          Housing shortages have been an on-going political issue in the UK for decades, well before the effects of EU migration made the situation worse. Stop blaming the Immigrant for the (free) market failings, given the number of homes that used to be built back in the 1950s to the mid ’70s per year the country could have built far in excess of the homes needed in the last 20-30 years -of course they might well have been basic homes but they would be a hones to call home non the less- so why didn’t we?….

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            We would have needed to build a new town every year from 1997 onwards to keep up.
            The numbers were way higher than government kept predicting.
            So planning for the number of houses and other infrastructure was always less than was needed.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            With an adult population of 40 million plus dependents I would think we have enough houses Jerry.

            Would you accept that even if the problem is not total numbers of immigrants (which I would dispute as it really only benefits business), the rate of change has been an issue?

          • jerry
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; That’s my point, we needed to build large numbers of homes anyway, not just since 1997 but since 1979, perhaps even before – the deficit was there well before freedom of movement from the EU that so many are obsessed with on this and other right wing sites.

            And what of those New Towns, we had no problem building such towns from 1946 until the early 1980s, its called central planning, or was…

            Even before WW2 there was no problems, when private development would build such developments, but then they were often called Garden Cities.

            @NS; It is clear that we have never had enough houses [1], were are all these empty surplus houses then NS, other than perhaps reserved MOD stock?…

            [1] certainly not were they are needed

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Well the difference is in the numbers Jerry.
            It has gone from 50,000 a year to 300,000 a year.
            Not so easy to keep up.
            And unexpected too.
            Remember the predictions of Government saying 20,000 Polush people would come here when Poland joined the EU
            Then over 600,000 came.

          • jerry
            Posted February 17, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Obviously there is now a lot of catching up to do, but then so there was after WW2. The fact is we did build New Towns, we did build housing estates, the question that needs answering is why we stopped doing so?

            My argument is that we allowed the market (and its forces) to become to powerful, not helped by homes becoming investments, often part of a pension pot, and for them to retain value there needs to be a deficit in housing supply, just as quality jewellery & gold retain their value due to scarcity.

            You question the ability to build large numbers of homes, back in 1959 the Conservative manifesto boasted about providing “over two million new homes”, now whether that was since 1951 or just the previous election it does not indicate, but if we look at the 1955 manifesto it also boasts that “nearly 350,000 were built last year”, so quite why you think it is impossible to build the number of homes required is baffling.

            Of your suggested 600,000 eastern European migrants, they could have been accommodate in just two years back in the early 1950s, with a surplus, using modern building methods I doubt it would have taken 12 months to housed them all these days.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I agree Ian.

  3. Matt
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    So now how to persuade your colleagues of the same or are you a voice in the wilderness. My first reaction- it’s too early in the morning- second stab- you guys are sunk
    Matt dublin

  4. agricola
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a very complex over engineered scheme to me. Like a piece of tax law waiting to be citcumvented by opportunists.

    The problems are:-
    1. Lack of affordable homes due to methods of building.
    2. Due to deposit demands, mortgages are unaffordable for those categories of buyer you wish to help.
    3. Local authorities have a restricted idea of what can be built in their area which invariably increases cost.
    4. Speculating land owners are allowed to sit on land to enhance profit.

    Possible answers are:-
    1. Design and build in factories to incorporate best green practice, low unit cost, quality control under ISO9000, and flexible individuality as in the car industry.
    2. Create a government led, flexible, access to money lifetime mortgage scheme for first time buyers at government borrowing rates with only modest deposit demands. So that those who can afford to rent can afford to buy.
    3. Change the mindset and control of local authorities.
    4. Ensure that planning permission is time locked.

    Bare down on employers to facilitate more work from home so removing much transport cost from potential buyers lives where possible.
    Move much government employment out of London, sending it to areas in need of emplyment opportunities.
    Drastically reduce immigration, deport all criminals of foreign extraction at sentence end. With the sort of remission our judicial system hands out this should ensure a swift clean out. Post EU membership make a concerted effort to deport all illegals, at least two million in my estimation.
    End government leeching on the housing market with stamp duty, inheritance tax etc. It is all taxation on income already taxed.
    Give thought to a second home two tier market in desirable areas of the country, just as they do in the Channel Islands to protect the market for local born residents.

    It is a fundamental problem to properly house our population so give it some radical thought.

    • Al
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      I will be honest, the amount of admin involved in calculating discounts, working out who qualifies, working out what percentage gets passed on, whether the discount must be passed on if the next purchaser is a second time owner (which means larger property firms have a chance to take these houses off the market at a discount when the owners sell), etc. seems prohibitive and likely to take most of the money set aside.

      Why not simply put the proportion from the homebuilders into a central trust and let First Time buyers who qualify receive either a grant or loan from that trust to cover deposit/part of the mortgage no matter whether the house they want to buy is new build or not? It is just as distorting to the market, but requires far less overhead.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Sounds like over complex, rather contrived, government market manipulation scheme just relax planning rules, get more competition in banking and development/mortgage finance, relax the OTT green green crap building controls, cut the massive over taxation of property (the up to 15% stamp duty, cgt and taxation of landlord non profits) and let the market supply demand as it will do.

    Rather like the Freeport scheme. Why should some ports or areas have an unfair advantage over other ports? Make them all free ports or indeed the whole country if they are good idea.
    We need far less government schemes not more of them.

    Another area where government schemes are very misguided and damaging (and do more harm than good) is all the silly saving scheme with tine tax breaks and silly rules. Thinks like save to buy, Gordon Brown’s idiot baby bonds, and the lifetime ISA. Just kill all these contrived government gimmicks and cut and simplify taxes for all. Then again nearly everything government does tends to do more harm than good. Especially the FCA’s 40% to 78% one size for all overdraft interest rate agenda!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks goodness the court has found that the police probe into ‘transphobic’ tweets Harry Miller was unlawful. What on earth is wrong with our police that most real and even violent crimes have almost no real investigation but they have time to harass people like this for his innocuous tweets.

      Absurdly woke BBC interview by Evan Davis on PM yesterday. The BBC get more absurd, more woke, more wrong headed, more PC and more detached from reality every single day.

      • agricola
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        The problem starts and finishes with MPs. They have collectively killed off free speech, apart of course in the HoC. MPs have created a set of rules for themselves on pay pensions expenses that they deny the electorate. This diary suffers from it. Perfectly reasonable logical opinions are removed from the arguement because they are not deemed politically correct. The judge was spot on. If it is not squashed it will blow up in the faces of those who hide behind it.

        • jerry
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          @agricola; “This diary suffers from it. Perfectly reasonable logical opinions are removed from the arguement because they are not deemed politically correct.”

          Or more simply, might be far to politically uncomfortable for our host, or his party collogues, to allow publication, thus our host hides behind those very laws too, using them as the excuse to remove reasonable opinions rather than stand and defend his or their past actions. Hmm….

          Reply I publish a lot of critical comments on me and the Conservatives, and am usually willing to provide a platform for views I thoroughly disagree with. I do not tolerate abuse of people and institutions including my political opponents, and do not like generalised nasty comments on groups of people or countries. Use moderate language to disagree. Understatement and humour are more effective than ill judged rants.

    • Bob
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      There would be more liquidity in the property market if UKIP’s policy of abolishing stamp duty were applied. Imagine someone needing to move house for their job having to pay tens of thousands of pounds each time they move. How can this tax be justified. It should be a nominal charge to cover the cost of admin by the Land Registry.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        It should be nothing you have to pay land registry fees too. Turnover taxes and very damaging indeed. You can easily be paying tax at well over 100% of you income that year.

  6. eeyore
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    A discount from landowners or developers amounts to a forced private subsidy for a public good. Passing it to a third party, a future buyer, is even worse. We might as well say that those without savings of their own should be awarded a share of other people’s.

    How does either policy differ from socialist, state-sponsored legal robbery?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink


    • Dan R
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Let’s not forget the May/Hammond help to buy crap was found to actually mostly help those who didn’t really need help.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it was.

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      @eeyore: “We might as well say that those without savings of their own should be awarded a share of other people’s.”

      Were you referring to the “First Homes” scheme outlines today or the 1980s “Right to Buy” scheme, your comment above applies to both….

      This scheme is far worse than anything a Socialist might come up with, whilst they too tend to tax and spend (using other peoples money) the resultant assets remain firmly under the control of the state, not passed onto private individuals to profit from.

      The “market” will never solve a problem caused by the “markets”, HMG must take this problem in-house, that will not prevent constructio0n companies making money.

    • formula57
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Agreed. It seems akin to reintroducing Development Land Tax but bypassing the Exchequer to award the amounts gathered to selected private individuals in a complex scheme designed to run in perpetuity.

  7. Mark B
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    As with a carpenter, they see every problem can be solved with a hammer and a nail so too with a politician. They seek to solve every problem with more legislation and bureaucracy.

    Will there be a new Minister and a new department(s) to oversee all this ?

    I person who I work with, both he and his Civil Serpent wife are retiring early to Spain. She will be able to claim 2/3rds of her final salary apparently, which is enough for both of them to live on. Just thought others would like to know how the other half live whilst the rest of us try to make ends meat from all their various **** up’s !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The average value of private sector private pensions (on top of state the state pension) is apparently about 1/5 or the state sector average pot. Many in the private sector have none or virtually none. Yet these 80% of private sector workers are mainly the wealth creators who pay for all of these pensions.

    • Dan R
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Yes, ahh the safe and secure public sector. If only we could all work there and be set up for life. The fairest policy ever would be inheritance tax only for those who worked the public sector and receive PS pension.

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; Pure ignorance (about Carpenters) and jealousy (towards those with a better pension) does not progress any argument!…

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      40 years “in harness” = 40/80 ie half yer final salary.
      Why try to raise “anti” feelings against one particular sector?
      Jobs in the Civil Service are open to all!
      Personally would not have touched it with a barge pole…but why carp jealously about those who did?

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        For those who sneer about the public sector, and their generous terms and conditions, I invite them to go and work in the Job Centres and Benefits Offices. It would be an eye opener.

        Understaffed, underpaid, not able to take their full holidays because of staffing levels. Subject to endless abuse from their ‘ clients’. Not able to take their pensions til 67/68 years of age. Government endlessly, moving the goalposts, which makes the job harder.

        There is a programme about Universal Credit on BBC Two, which outlines the problems that the staff have to face, and how they try to help people in dire straits. I suggest you watch it.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 17, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Cheshire Girl, I find that lots of jobs of friends and family both in the public and private sector have been going under constant change in the past ten years, especially with the introduction of digital accounting, upgraded computers and software, smartphones and other technological advances.

          We were advised a long while ago to advertise vacancies on Indeed, not in the Job Centres, in fact as a business there is rarely anyone to talk to as most job interaction is digital now.

          With Nest and poor returning private pensions most of us can’t get at our full pension until we are 67 to 68? Did previous civil service workers in the Job Centres get their contracts changed and old pension agreements scrapped?

          I was curious after reading your comment about being underpaid so I searched online to try to find the going rate for jobs at the Job Centre it is quite difficult to discover, I did find a Digital Content Manager at the Government recruitment service where it said typical pay £32k and £53k which is quite a gap. And a Head of Product at Universal Credit advertised at £95k in London but the general staff vacancies I couldn’t find. What is the pay for a full-time officer in Cheshire?

    • Fred H
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      If you think a carpenter is one who wields a hammer to nail things together – you’ve been had by somebody! Those ‘tools’ are last resort by cowboys and DIYers.

  8. Christine
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Your idea seems very complicated. Often young people want to be mobile and move jobs and areas to increase their pay. This idea seems to chain them to one house. Government would be better to make buying and selling houses cheaper to allow greater mobility and should try to encourage more jobs to move to the North where houses are easily affordable. Put money into better roads and telecommunications. I can’t even get a mobile phone signal where I live.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Mobility indeed which is killed by high stamp duty. Not worth buying unless you are going to stay in the same place for several years with stamp duty at up to 15%. It should be 0% turnover taxes are a very bad idea. Tax profits instead.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        If you reduce stamp duty house prices just go up to compensate. Buyers, particularly first time buyers, can’t win.

        • Bob
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          “If you reduce stamp duty house prices just go up to compensate.”

          Prices go to the level that the market will bear. Taxpayer money is being used to fund housing for people who cannot afford to pay for themselves which creates upward pressure on prices.

          High rates of stamp duty just reduces liquidity because people would rather spend the money on extensions and ugly loft conversions than move on to a more suitable property. That’s why Kirsty always beats Phil on “Love it or List It” #LIOLI

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      We’ve had enough of experts with mad-cap schemes like this.

      Somehow, enormous amounts of compensation need to be paid to pre-existing dwellers in the South East who expected to enjoy roads not torn-up by earth-carrying wagons, health, welfare, education and transport facilities which applied when they bought years ago. This should be paid by any developer wanting to build a new house. This would actually discourage more building, which in turn (with the correct benefit regime) should discourage people without adequate income arriving in the vicinity.

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      @Christine; “Often young people want to be mobile and move jobs and areas to increase their pay. This idea seems to chain them to one house.”

      Indeed and that use to be the biggest benefit of LA housing stocks, they allowed people to move fairly easily (certainly if they had good cause, such as work or close family), but because the rent lower due to being ‘Not for Profit’ it allowed young people to also save for a mortgage once they were ready and able to settle down in a location.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Moving was very difficult if you were in Council housing.
        You had to find a swop partner and get the arrangement agreed by the Council.
        “Move fairly easily”….not really.
        I ran a company back in the heyday of Council housing and tried to help staff who were trying to move closer to their workplace and it was a very difficult bureaucratic process.
        And if you wanted to move from an area of high unemployment to one where a job was available you would find it difficult to find a replacement tenant acceptable to the local authority.

        • jerry
          Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          Edward2; “I ran a company back in the heyday of Council housing”

          Sorry but I don’t believe you, given your gross ignorance of industrial events during the 1960s & 1970s… You might well have run a company since, if so, doesn’t that tell you something!

          I’m not saying that those with just a whim, those who woke up one morning and thought “I know, lets move to the other end of the country” would have had a easy ride, no one is deigning there were often waiting lists, but those who did need to move were prioritised and accommodated by their new Council.

          Also from the 1950s to the late 1970s new LA housing often when hand in hand with planned new factories, certainly if the new industry would exceed the available workforce.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            Keep calm Jerry.
            You are getting very aggressive.

  9. BeebTax
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I’ve worked in this area and have long felt the uplift in value of land upon granting planning consent ought to be more fairly distributed. At the same time it ought to be made far more easy for landowners to obtain planning consent, in return for a reduced windfall profit. This could encourage the supply of more land for this purpose.

    Landowners should also be encouraged by a restrictive covenant (acting rather like an “overage clause” does), such that if the homes are much later resold at full open market value, the landowner gets a slice of the profit released.

    The concerns about the value of improvements are unfounded. Estate agents and values will tell you that few “improvements” add anything substantial to property values. They usually just make a home quicker to sell, or add a fraction of a percent to the asking price. Increasing the number of bedrooms is an exception, but this is next to impossible in a new build property which will have already squeezed as many bedrooms into it and made use of every available square inch of land available. Has the proposal’s writer visited a low cost new build recently and seen the size of the rooms?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Just another tax on land owners and developers. Many have bought property taking on the risk of getting (or not getting planning) and now you are retrospectively changing the rules and taxing them which deters such new investment. They already pay stamp duty, capital gains tax, corporation tax, employment taxes, some vat, the cost of obtaining planning, social housing demands and other LEA taxes and fees.

    • agricola
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Again we could learn something from the Swedes here, apart from factory building. The first level in many a Swedish house starts as a hole in the ground, the cellar storey. Down there they have the sauna, heating system, laundry facilities, playroom and pool table. All of it 100% damproof. Above you have your spacious 3/4 bedroom house. Build time is one to two weeks. What are we waiting for, apart from changing all the existing obstacles to house building and ownership.

  10. Chris Dark
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I would never encourage my son to buy a house under any sort of scheme that didn’t give him full proper ownership of the property and its value. As for new-builds, well, when the government can do something about all these “fleece-holds” that currently plague all buyers in the new-build sector then things might be different. Aaaand… affordable homes don’t happen because developers never lower the prices….why would they? Wrecking the countryside just to build a glut of homes to control prices is ludicrous.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Developers will have to lower prices if there is sufficient supply or lower demand. It is simple supply and demand. We have insufficient supply in many areas.

      • jerry
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        @LL; But it is in the private developers (and indeed private landlords) interests not to allow the supply to increase, that is why the “Market” is not the answer.

        Only HMG directed housing schemes will allow sufficient supply and thus lower prices – but very few property owning Tory voters are going to be happy with that as it will also lower their own property values, perhaps sending them into negative equity…

        What a vicious circle we have got ourselves into over the last 40 years, the public-private mix within housing polices prior to the 1980s worked well, yes there were some problems and abuses but nothing like those of today.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          The supply is restricted by government planning rules not by developers in general. It is generally in the interests of developers to develop and sell on and get their money out for the next deal.

          • jerry
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            @LL; Nonsense, there are rather to many examples of approved planning application (if only outline), were land has been secured by the developer, but little or nothing has actually been built, hence why there are complaints about Land Banking – some on this site have commented that developers often do little more than have services installed so to secure the site and application, but then do nothing for years.

      • L Jones
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        We are told the birth rate of our indigenous population is decreasing. Yet we are told that many of our young people are unable to buy because of lack of affordable housing, or a dearth of houses generally.
        Perhaps it’s time to see renting as an acceptable option, as it is on the continent, instead of a stigma. More disposable income, easier mobility, etc.
        But why isn’t more said about the elephant in the room? Too many people – and if we, the indigenous population, are not producing them, I wonder who is?

        • jerry
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          @L Jones; “Perhaps it’s time to see renting as an acceptable option, as it is on the continent, instead of a stigma.”

          Quite, but many can not afford the current level of private sector rents charged either, never mind there is also a shortage of such rental accommodation too, not just properties for sale.

          Correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is that in-work Housing Benefits claims are actually on the rise whilst other benefits are falling, whilst many -young or older- people might well be prepared to take a low or NMW paid job, and perhaps also not work a full 39 hour week, on such low wages and/or hours many who are will never afford private rents on their own accord.

          Time to rethink the LA rental sector too, at least that way Housing Benefit is largely circular within Whitehall.

          As for your elephant in the room, with a falling indigenous population but the same sized economy why do you think some employers have been turning to employing people from the EU27, and in some cases from the RotW?

          So what if we accept a lower population figure, by firmly but fairly restricting the numbers of economic migrants entering what jobs they can do and what support those here receive whilst ‘between jobs’ so to speak, will we not also need to accept a lower level of economic output, suffering similar economic problems as Japan has faced for the last 20 or so years because their birth rate has fallen and immigration is controlled?

          How many young couples are putting off having families, or choosing not to have them at all because they do not have a suitable place to call home and raise a family, if they do have a such a home both often need to work full 39hr pw jobs to afford it, certainly if they are also trying to save for a deposit.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Or. Stop immigration and reduce the demand for housing.

    • mickc
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Vote Leave! Oh, you did, and it has made little difference to immigration, exactly as the Remain campaigns explained, and for those reasons.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        That’s not what the ft and other reports have said Martin 70% less reported in February.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          From the European Union, which is historically only about a third of movement into the country.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Freedom of movement continues until the end of this year.
        More nonsense from you Martin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Most immigration into the UK is not from the European Union.

          • steve
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink


            Beg to differ.

          • Fred H
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            prior to the Ref:
            from EU : 189,000
            Other: 184,000

            Well done Martin – accuracy (sort of for once).
            But was the point really worth making?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            We still have no control over EU immigration until the end of the year.
            Which you failed to realise.
            And that is hundreds of thousands of people a year.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

            Fred, that was an exceptional year with a last minute rush from the European Union.

            Historically there has been markedly more from the rest of the world.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            Not if you include asylum seekers and refugees.
            EU immigration is not counted like non EU immigration.
            It is more of a guess and an underestimation.

          • Fred H
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            so Martin why was there a last minute rush from the EU to become an immigrant to the UK.? We must be doing something right to cause panic to settle here instead of over the water! I think you just made our point.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        And the reasons are?????

      • Fred H
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        2015: 189,000
        2016: 133,000
        2017: 99,000
        2018: 74,000
        2019: not available yet.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Too simple for a govt to do. A govt has to be seen to waste £billions.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        It is and it isn’t.

        The problem is, as I posted on this site elsewhere, is that government has embarked, probably unwittingly, on a whole series of Ponzi Schemes, MASS IMMIGRATION being one of them. Another is the minimum wage where government intervenes in the market to determine the price of labour. Again, it can only raise it, not lower. In a Capitalist, Free Market Economy this is an anathema as it distorts the market. It is also the thin edge of Socialism. Sadly, people like our kind host are blind to all this.

        • glen cullen
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          a bit like winter fuel allowance and environment energy tax, they have the bottle to remove them when implimented

    • Shirley
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink


      We are fighting a losing battle if immigration numbers are not reduced.

    • oldwulf
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Yep – more supply and less demand should do the trick.

      It’s unfortunate that interest rates have been so low for so long … and asset prices are therefore so high. Government schemes have contributed to this. I can’t help but think there will be a day of reckoning.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        All Ponzi Schemes end in disaster – eventually ! 😉

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      The ‘demand’ is from people with no money. Millions of houses in the U.K. unsold after a decade or more on te market. When houses are sold within days we can say there is a shortage. In fact, there is no shortage, just a scam to sell a rubbish new-build on a flood plain to someone with no options in exchange for his life’s work! Corporatism.

      • glen cullen
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        yep, you only have to look at an estste agent window, the problem isnt the quantity its cost and location

  12. APL
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Redwood:”developers stand to make on the grant of planning permission should be shared with First Home buyers by giving them a discount on the normal market value of these new homes, ”

    Yes. Sound Tory principles here, redistribution of wealth.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Why should the arbitrary, state decided grant of planning permission make Farmer A a multi millionaire while Farmer B, on the other side of the road, has to plod on until death trying to scratch a living. I instinctively don’t like windfall taxes, but a 90% windfall tax on the uplift in land value when planning is granted for a multi-house development would be fine with me.

  13. mickc
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    These proposals are total nonsense.

    The State does NOT give a property owner to right to develop their property. That right is inherent in property ownership in a free society; the right to do what you want with your own property.

    That right was removed by the State when planning laws were introduced. The State arrogated unto itself that right, and now grants it back selectively.

    It is State intervention in the market which has caused the problem; further complicated regulation is not the answer….never has been….never will be.

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      @mickc; “That right was removed by the State when planning laws were introduced.”

      Yes the state did impose planning laws, and quite correctly too. How often do we hear people even today bleating about the erosion of the Green Belt, and would you really welcome someone building a wall within feet of your windows without a care simply because they owned the land beyond your own property boundary?!

      “It is State intervention in the market which has caused the problem; “

      No it has been allowing the “Market” to be King that has caused so many of the problem, problems that did not exist 40, 50, 60 years ago (when there was far greater State intervention), but then that was a also a time when homes were homes, not property investments legally requiring a return from the company or personal pension pots.

  14. Nig l
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Even your summary tells me this will be a bureaucratic nightmare so beloved of politicians with an army of snoopers to ensure no one is letting, valuers, arbitration panels, complicated formulas to add inflation costs to home improvements done years before etc.

    Plus as Lifelogic says just another tax on developers who have taken all the risk. You can bet the amount they leave in subsidy will not match the tax reduction so just another ‘tax increase’ from this ‘Blairite’ government.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Nig 1

      They have so messed up the market that they do not know what to do. Hence the bonkers ideas like the ones above. They cannot, and will not, grasp the nettle that in order to bring in balance, they will have to slowly raise interest rates and reduce the demand side. This will have the effect of slowing the market for home owners but, allow new homes to be sold at affordable prices.

  15. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Dreadful, dreadful!
    Listen to yourself arguing over which market distortion is best!
    Why distort the market at all? Any distortion of the type you propose will lead to yet greater distortion later, else a massive un-wind which is what should happen now, by lower immigration, lower demand, and falling prices. It is already happening except where your crazy distortion/subsidy ideas won’t let it!

  16. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The answer is simple but radical.

    The freeholds to farmland should – with just exceptions – be nationalised, and be replaced by transferable farming rights, by the relevant Profits à Prendre. That would mean that farms could operate as normally, buy and sell land etc. for that purpose and so on.

    However, the public would get the benefit of the increase in value when the land were used for a different purpose and the Profits extinguished – with compensation under a compulsory purchase etc.

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      @MiC; But much of the current land-bank problem is with Brown Field sites. Duh!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Much of the demand for housing is because of divorce and not immigration too.

        Can you only think of one thing at a time?

        • Fred H
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          There were 90,000 divorces last year a falling rate year on year – so how many divorcees do you think bought a new build? In the letting business it is well known the majority of divorced men seek an existing available rental flat. They are not usually able to pick and choose for months. So, back to immigration….

    • Edward2
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Why not carry on and steal everything the private citizen owns and transfer that to State.
      Worked well in Cuba Venezuela and the USSR empire.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Over half of the land of England is in the same few hundred families who have passed it on ever since 1067.

        Don’t you think that the Anglo-Saxon stock finally deserve some benefit from it?

        I wasn’t suggesting that anyone be thrown off it without fair compensation, as and when it were needed for development, just not silly money.

        • Fred H
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          have a word with the Church and Prince Charles, I’m sure they will understand the problems the country faces and sell off their land at ‘affordable give-away’ prices.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          Compensation levels set by you and your pals presumably.
          Based on agricultural land values then soon afterwards the State waves a magic wand and says it is no longer green belt and builds on it.
          Either you believe in the right of UK citizens to own freehold land or you want a nation where the State just steals wealth off people.
          The inequality argument is a red herring.

        • jerry
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          @MiC; Have you stopped to think what your idea would cost the state (tax payer), even if this land was “nationalised” at half full market value?!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            You have not understood the post.

          • jerry
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

            @MiC; Oh yes I have! What is more your reply confirms it, you did not mean Nationalise, you mean Steal (common theft)…

            What is more there is no need for the Govt to own any land, if a govt backed building project needs land then it is always open to HMG to place a compulsory purchase order on the land and pay the market value and/or compensation to the legal owner for their for the loss.

    • anon
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Actually agree with you on this point.

  17. Keith Jagger
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    A quick comment but I would want to give the subject even more consideration before My final verdict. I think the idea is a possible way to provide social housing without the continued involvement of government or housing associations. I do find your objections to placing restrictions on letting and extending misplaced. As a Chartered Surveyor I have seen the, usually unintended, distortions in the housing stock caused by government policies e.g the complete change in an area caused by extending 3 bed semi-detached chalets into 5 bed 2 bathroom properties because it was cheaper than moving house (stamp duty and other transactional costs) suddenly in an area there is no logical affordable progression from a 2 bed semi-detached property without moving away. This also occurs with the propensity for loft extensions, and ground floor extensions to Victorian Terraces. This worthwhile initiative needs more careful consideration before adoption together with more consideration as to why young people struggle to get on the housing ladder e.g the part played by Student Debt, and the impact of Buy-to-Let which by divorcing ownership from consumption, has enabled investors to outbid owner occupiers for years. Thereby forcing prices up and moving our market more in line with the EU. When offering these discounts there need to be restrictions. Look at Right-Buy and the abuses there. As always the devil is in the detail and whoever has been making the detail in this country doesn’t always get it right. Let’s hope the final proposal is an effective one and not just a political soundbite.

  18. Irene
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Well done – gopverment is Boris’ latest ****-up, I presume.

    • steve
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink


      ” Boris’ latest ****-up, I presume.”

      Actually no. Now he’s hoping to get China to build HS2.

      Japan you could understand, but China ?

      Oh my giddy aunt.

  19. Kevin
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    “For this to work the rules need to be flexible…. There does need to be some means test to stop people…from cashing in.”

    I suspect that this could be an inherently self-defeating aim, in that the very existence of rules and testing may restrict the benefit to people who can afford the time and effort to study and surmount these hurdles.

    You mentioned the other day that “pumping money into the system at low interest rates” means that “home prices…have risen”. If that practice were stopped, and house prices consequently came down, then the effort involved in acquiring an affordable home ought, I imagine, to be restricted to the process of purchasing it. It would not involve an additional stage of researching, correctly identifying, perhaps obtaining advice on, and otherwise complying with, an intrusive and possibly constantly changing layer of bureaucracy and politics.

  20. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    If you have a field with grass, shrubs and perhaps a few elders on it, when it rains, the rain goes into the ground and the roots of the trees suck up a lot of water.
    If you build a row of houses along the field, then, when it rains, the water falls onto the roof of the houses or onto the concrete path/new roads. Then where does it go?
    That is infrastructure.
    If you also build, on the river catchment area, a huge new Superstore or a Commercial Centre of many Superstores with Car Parks, then where does it go?
    That, too, is infrastructure.
    I live in the Fens…
    I am so glad I do not live in York.

  21. alastair harris
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Interesting but flawed. The government certaily does benefit from the gains made by developers, but it is the cost of that gain that causes property prices to be unaffordable. The planning system is not fit for purpose. It is slow, and its decisions often arbitrary. It demonstrates nicely the flaws with a centrally planned system, hiding under the figleaf of local accountability. Within predefined boundaries the decisions on planning should be strictly based on building regulations only.

  22. Dave
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Yet another flawed government intervention designed to appear to care but actually creating far more problems than it solves. The single best thing you can do Mr Redwood is vote against any such scheme ay time it rears it’s ugly head.

  23. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Do not agree JR its just more and more complication which is just encouraging people to stretch to the limit their finances to purchase property.

    Do not get me wrong I am all in favour of people purchasing their own home if they can afford it, as they then have a stake in the community but for goodness sake keep it simple.

    The fairest way of helping people to purchase their own home was MIRAS, that helped everyone across the board, was simple and straightforward, but the Government of the day decided it would stop it.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Agree Alan, restore MIRAS and maybe extend it so that “Bank of Mum & Dad” can take advantage in some way.

      Could possibly be a future offset against IHT, but just keep it simple…

      • Bob
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Keeping it simple would solve a lot of problems, but it appears to be a concept that most politicians just cannot grasp. They just love to interfere.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:15 am | Permalink


    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Oh for heaven’s sake, do you understand nothing about the housing market? Introduce MIRAS again and within 6 months house prices will have risen so buyers are no better off.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 12:32 am | Permalink


        I am not suggesting MIRAS starts again, I just made the comment that it was at least fair to all when it was running.

        Everything that has come in since probably has good intentions at it heart, but they all just seem to complicate everything, keep house prices high by supporting the market demand, and by their very nature are selective which is hardly fair.

        If a government wants to promote home ownership, then give everyone the same benefit !.

        Reducing stamp duty is the obvious thing to tackle, why should you pay a huge tax on the purchase of a home for your own residence.

        Keep stamp duty on second or multiple purchases which are for rent if you must, as that could be considered as a commercial purchase..

  24. Fred H
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Trying to bypass the basic laws of supply and demand will never work.
    Location has to be acceptable to buyers, as do facilities, as does price, as does loan, as does investment risk.
    Tinker with price, loan and investment risk and it won’t end well.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink


    • miami.mode
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      ..but Fred, supply and demand is to a large extent dependent on government policy on taxes, planning controls, immigration, health services and myriad other ways they steer our behaviour.

      • Fred H
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t say it wasn’t – but read again. Location, facilities, price, loan,risk.

  25. James Freeman
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    This is a complicated solution. It will only make the situation worse by introducing even more regulation and interference in the market.

    Solving the housing problem is simple – you to must increase supply. For example:

    1. Release more land for building on. If developers are land banking in certain areas, flood the market with more land until building targets are reached.

    2. Allow denser housing, especially near existing public transport hubs. If you are going to spend money on housing, use it to enable this.

    3. Encourage new builders to enter the market by simplifying and clarifying regulations.

  26. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Far too many schemes abound, far too many rules to police by government.

    Key workers, who exactly are they, as everyone is a key worker in a fully developed society, from the sewerage worker to the bus driver, teacher, street sweeper, doctor, etc, etc, the list is endless, because without all of them society does not function properly.

    Help to buy, keeps the Market price high,

    Bank of Mum and Dad keeps the Market price high.

    Shared ownership, is not shared at all, as the Purchaser pays all of the maintenance cost.

    Leasehold Purchase, Ground rent and service rip off charges with upward revues only.

    Assisted living purchase, High service charges, low value when selling, as too many terms and conditions.

    Council house purchase, a great deal for the Sons and Daughters who often purchase in the name of Mum and Dad, but does not add a single house to the housing stock.

    The List is almost endless !

  27. Stred
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Potential buyers who have been saving for a deposit will be barred. Foreign buyers may have a property in their country. This could not be checked. Discrimination law would lead to subsidised property going to foreign buyers.
    Much buy to let property is about to be sold because this socialist government is going to grant tenants security of tenure, as they had before Mrs T created s much bigger private sector which gives younger people a better choice. The market has already changed in London and the SE with houses that sold for £500k now selling for £430 in our road. Gazundering has reappeared.
    Negative equity too thanks to the new politics.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      It’s leaving the European Union, which has significantly reduced London prices, I think.

      • NickC
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Well, you think wrong. House prices in the UK have gone up, and gone down, in, or out, of the EU.

      • steve
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink


        “It’s leaving the European Union, which has significantly reduced London prices, I think”

        If that were so, it would be a positive aspect of leaving.

        It’s time London had it’s property bubble well and truly burst, same for the S.E in general.

    • Stred
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Stick to Cardiff.

    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I’ve a great idea. Stop interfering. Stop politicising our world. Stop destroying our freedoms. Stop expressing faux social concern. Stop spending taxpayers money to finance political spending

    If I wanted to buy a property I wouldn’t turn to the State or take advantage of a politically constructed program to do it.

    The State gives with one hand and then takes with another, Nothing is free. All must be paid for. Future generations will realise that when they’re paying higher taxes to finance the massive debts built up by Blair, Cameron, May and Johnson. All debts to finance their POLITICAL programmes

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Too fiddly.

      House prices have grown 2 to 2.5% p.a. faster than gdp for the past quarter of a century. Perhaps this needs to be reversed to house prices growing 2.5% slower than GDP per year. Faster would be preferable but then some will be trapped in slight negative equity.

      1. Increase availability of land.
      2. Build upwards and high where land is not available.
      3. Alternative low risk investments that grow 2.5% faster than GDP p.a.
      4. (Increase borrowing costs)
      5. Decrease population growth (another net zero policy)
      6. (Move 10 million people to Scotland! if social engineering is going to happen don’t be fiddly, be big and be judged for it.)

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Who gives a toss about GDP? We don’t need ever increasing product and consumption.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      True,true,very,very true!!
      And the biggest laugh is that they are supposed to be conservatives 😂

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Lots of things to stop there. How about STOPPING the BANKS from endlessly inflating the housing market by lending ever increasing amounts as mortgages. It’s a bloody madhouse at times. One day a bank will lend, say, a maximum of £100k as a mortgage on a property. A year later they’ll lend £200k against the SAME property. They constantly inflate the market.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Takes X billions with one hand and delivers back about x/5 of it (if you are lucky back in value as public service). Much of it is spent doing positive harm or virtually no good. HS2, PFI, most space exploration and the renewable subsidies for good examples.

    • Irene
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      And so say many of us.

      I’ve read the doc now. My first thoughts are that not everyone needs or wants to own their own home. There is nothing wrong with renting a property; it is the way the private rental system has been allowed to develop that is flawed. It worked well in countries like Germany for decades.

      The suggested first-time buyer discount in your plan is, say, 30% minimum off the market price, with variations across the counties. No maximum discount to be set. The discount is to be retained on the property in perpetuity. So a property bought today, under this scheme, attracts, say, a 30% discount. The same property sold in 10 years’ time would have to be sold at a 30% discount. Would the subsequent sales after the first purchase all be to First Time Buyers? Or could we end up with the equivalent of the Council House Millionaires featured in a recent TV programme?

      The restrictive covenants should be a matter of concern.

      A national cap, with a higher cap for London? No thanks.

      Perhaps you would explain the reference (within the section on letting) to “when householders are in long term care”. Does that refer to first-time buyers? How long would you envisage that buyer living in their First Home before the Restriction on Letting came into effect or ceased to be in effect? I’m struggling with that one.

      In general, this is a plan I do not approve. It is likely to end up similar to the current ‘fleecehold’ mess. Stop meddling. Stop interfering. Just make the existing systems fair. Or is this a plan to do away with social housing altogether?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Who pays the rent when people retire? Why should some favoured people be property owners and some serfs?

    • jerry
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      @Dominic; “Stop spending taxpayers money to finance political spending [..//..] If I wanted to buy a property I wouldn’t turn to the State or take advantage of a politically constructed program to do it.” [my emphasis]

      So you do not, or did not, take any advantage of tax breaks or allowances then, you did not partake or approve of the 1980s Right to Buy scheme?…

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      100% agree

      All hand outs of TAX-PAYERS money distorts. Each handout breeds another to try and level the playing field. A never ending spiral.

      If everyone was treated equal (the People and Business) in what they contributed to the tax system.

      Governments are terrible at managing others peoples money, it is just seen as a bottomless pit to bribe the electorate at the next election. The doctrine now is why contribute to society when the greater majority get a free ride.

    • Bob
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      “The State gives with one hand and then takes with another, Nothing is free. All must be paid for. “

      Same applies to pensions. They give tax relief on contributions to your pension and then whack you for 55% when you drawdown.

  29. BJC
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Planners take a very narrow and specific approach to a planning application and are not interested in the existence of restrictive covenants, so would grant consents anyway, leaving neighbours at “war”. They also rarely enforce infringements.

    Sadly, I’m not convinced the target sectors will benefit in the long term with these proposals. What happens when someone leaves their job? They can’t be forced to surrender a home on which they hold legal title, so is it accepted that the scheme would evolve in a few short years to general home ownership? We also all know that these properties WOULD be sublet.

    With apologies for sounding like a born-again leftie, but the fundamental issue facing this country is the massive use of bricks and mortar as an investment opportunity, with a vast amount of new housing stock being hoovered up as an attractive addition to property portfolios. Until we can find a way that underpins a culture of buying a home to live in, developers/landlords/pension trusts, etc, will continue to distort our markets.

    The issue should, therefore, be tackled from a different perspective. Government needs to fully understand what it’s dealing with before it can formulate a targeted, staggered, but effective approach and a longer-term strategy. Title to a property is registered individually, but is Land Registry required (or able) to link Titles across all the ***properties and land owned by each individual/company/trust, etc that can be reported in useful format? Are contractual options between developers/landowners recorded at LR? Are the “experts” being consulted truly independent, or the very same people with ***vested interests in the very lucrative status quo? Meanwhile, I suggest any short term policy will do as it will only ever be a sticking plaster.

  30. SM
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Sorry John, but by the time I had got to the 4th paragraph my eyes were whirling in different directions.

    Like other posters above, I believe that making life ever more complex and burdening society with increasing regulation, counter-regulation and arguable details is NOT the way to go.

  31. Bob of Bonsall
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    My daughter is a qualified doctor with 4 years experience 2 years into a 7 year trainee post as an ophthalmologist. On her junior surgeon’s salary, even taking her 6 years of student debt into account, she could easily afford to buy her own home.
    However, she has, since her Foundation 1 year, had to move from Harlow to East London for her F2 year, up to Newcastle to start her traineeship and, after 18 months in the Newcastle RVI, has just moved to Carlisle where she will be for a mere 6 months before moving back to the RVI.
    Over the next 4½ years she will be doing placements at Sunderland, Middlesborough and Darlington.

    There are many people with similar patterns of employment, whether through traineeships or simple short term contract working for whom buying a house will never be a practicable prospect.

    As much as I understand the desire for people to own their own home, we also need to ensure the survival of a strong rental sector, offering decent homes as a reasonable rent.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Indeed good available rental properties are important but the idiots Osborne and Hammond deciding to tax landlords and thus tenants to death.

    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink


    So the UK’s 2021 census could be the last, statistics chief reveals – BBC News.

    Why? What are they attempting to conceal? Is the changing demography of the UK now a source of concern and therefore it’s much easier to stop reporting upon it to protect future Tory governments from harm?

    I am standing back and watching events and I can see the direction of travel under this PM. He’s embrace identity politics. Woke immersion is indoctrination

    My father turns the TV channel over each time he is confronted with ID political propaganda masquerading as product advertising

    The State’s infected every single aspect of our lives and our workplace.Ans this has happened UNDER a TORY GOVERNMENT

    John and other proper Tories are members of a party that like Labour died decades ago.

      Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      The rate of home construction cannot be looked at in isolation which is something Mr Redwood is doing. Why is demand for homes (both for purchase and rental) rising?

      How large exactly is the UK’s current population and how large is it predicted to become? Is it now out of control with the secretive state (and government) desperate to conceal this true number to protect itself?

      Are we being softened up and lied to as cheap labour is imported to create the value needed to support State spending and State privileges that are now out of control due to politicians deciding that abusing the taxpayer is absolutely moral ?

      Mr Redwood bangs on about more spending. He’s now an unreconstructed Keynesian despite his claims to the contrary.

      The political class actually believe that spending taxpayers money is an act of virtue, social concern and compassion and they present it as such. Of course that’s crap. It is nothing less than pork barrel politics. The deception is nauseating in the extreme

      Reply Being permanently angry undermines your points. I have often talked about migration and its impact on housing. I have also often recommended substantial spending cuts to balance increases in spending on the NHS and schools, as with my attempts with others to save £106bn on HS2.

      • NickC
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Dominic, I understand your frustration. In the 1970s, I tried to interest people in the evils of the USSR. I got no “traction”. After the fall of the Berlin Wall “everyone” always knew. Very dispiriting.

        Equally, highlighting the fact that nowadays the state seems to directly run most people’s lives gets no traction either. It is what David Kurten calls “cultural-marxism” – a fact, but mostly unnoticed as such by the mainstream. But, as JR says, anger won’t work.

  33. agricola
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I read today that my tongue in cheek suggestion that the Chinese be invited to build HS2 is being taken seriously. Why not, they demonstrated their ability to build railways in the west of the USA years ago and the same with hospitals at home last week. They did a great job with laundries for the Royal Navy too. We have enough Chinese takeaways to cover their catering needs, lets go
    With it.

  34. mark leigh
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Stop. Interfering. In. The. Market.


    • NickC
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Mark Leigh, Simply true.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink


    • Bob
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      “Stop. Interfering. In. The. Market.”

      In a nutshell.

    • zorro
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      This proposal reminds me of a Heath Robinson/Theresa Mayesque creation with a subtle dose of the clunking fist of central government management/implementation…


  35. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Another capital gains tax. Didn’t Labour have a Development Land Tax? Did you oppose it at the time? It’s no good pretending this measure is acceptable because the tax is distributed differently.

    When did you cease to be a free market conservative, Sir John?

  36. Everhopeful
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Why not make the banks become philanthropists…as a condition of continuing in business.
    They could buy up the vastly expensive secondhand houses which are languishing on the market…because they can’t compete with the new build incentives… and simply hand them over. Far simpler than covenants etc.
    A sort of pay back for the endowment fiasco too.
    Or they could build new Sunlight Villages not for rent but as pressies to the homeless.
    Or maybe they could just donate a percentage of their net profits made over the last 20 years. ( $1.36 trillion in 2018 I read) to those in need of a home.
    The banks are great supporters of globalism …they would be delighted to help!
    A sort of payback for being saved in 2008.
    I would say that they should house their own staff again and give them preferential mortgages as they used to…but banks are now as rare as hens’ teeth.

    • Bob
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      I think there would be a rather long queue of people with their hands out for a handout. There always is.

      While I share your disapproval of the behaviour of the bankers, I’m afraid your suggested solution is rather naïve.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Purely “tongue in cheek”.
        Don’t you see? There is no solution!
        In the region of 300,000 houses per year need to be built until at least 2030..just to catch up presumably.
        And do you really believe the govt will tackle unfettered immigration? Of course it won’t!!
        The “future” of this country is Armageddon!!

  37. Caterpillar
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    On the scheme outlined,

    1. If enough land is released for adequate supply (and this is known to be continuing until population is levelled, and restrictions are suitably relaxed/insisted on) then the discounted price (demand increasing!) approach is unnecessary.
    2. Who would enforce the covenant? What are the costs? (Plenty of covenants don’t get enforced now.)

  38. GilesB
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Get young people into the workforce sooner, living at home, saving for a deposit. Then, after ten years say, they can buy a house in their twenties.

    It’s ludicrous to propose that young people can stay in full time education, living away from home for several years, until their mid twenties and then buy a house in their thirties. They have accumulated too much debt, and are paying market rents, to ever save for a deposit. The numbers just don’t stack up.

    Sending half of the eighteen year old cohort to higher education is the direct cause of the so called housing crisis. The policy needs to be reversed. At least 80% should start work at 18 and live at home.

    One of Tony Blair’s worse ever moves, made solely to massage the unemployment numbers with utterly predictable disastrous consequences.

  39. a-tracy
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Oh my! Why overly complicate? What happens to the second-hand terrace house market if you give too many offers for new build reductions, help-to-buy home share. You always look at things in a London centric way too, we just don’t get these massive gains where I live. If you didn’t suck everything South northern cities and shires would be a good option for new graduates.

    I’d like to know how many new homes our local housing association have built in the past decade since they bought all the council housing for an average of just £7500! They spend too much money on themselves their top tier and have too many staff. If this was a private buyer you in Government would be agitated about how much money they were personally making but if it’s ‘social’ it doesn’t get looked at.

    Private houses can’t just run scrap yards and recovery service from their garden, it makes me wonder if they pay business rates and are registered properly. People who are very wealthy shouldn’t have social housing, they should have moved on and housing released to working people who need them or they should pay market value for them without stupid overly high discounts if they want to remain there.

  40. MeSET
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Yorkshire . I have just a whisper of word to complete my book. The Yorkshire Post, unfortunately cannot read it even if they recited every word on every page and played it back to themselves 100 times. I find. So disappointing. I truly wished them well.

    Frankly, I never realised how terribly good I am at writing until now.I did humbly suspect it though..for many years. For 400 years, in a manner of speaking.

    Strange, I have never received such an unprovoked attack from anyone on Twitter especially after showing front pages of a newspaper they were writing to an audience they could not reach otherwise. City dwellers! New Normans! 🙂

  41. Frances Truscott
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Part rent part buy is better. It means people can increase equity over time which makes them mobile. People need to be able to move for work. The scariest thing is leaseholds which might make a property too expensive to ever sell.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 2:56 am | Permalink

      What is the point of part rent/part buy – it is over complex. You either rent the money to buy the property or you rent the property (unless you have the cash that is). Chances are renting the money is cheaper than renting the property (or indeed part of the properly anyway).

  42. Dave Andrews
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Rather than rig the market, do something about the supply and demand. Prices are high because the demand is high and the supply is low. Well, reduce the demand by restricting those who can buy to only those who will take up the property as their first residence, at the most extreme.
    Where demand is a little lower, allow some purchases by those who want to buy to let (there’s always a place for rented accommodation), so long as they are UK natural persons, and even then put on a portfolio cap – say £1m.
    A roof over the head is a fundamental human requirement and people should not be held to ransom for it by the wealthy.

    • Bob
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      @Dave Andrews
      Government interference in the natural supply and demand is the cause of the problem, not the solution.

      Unfettered immigration wouldn’t be such a problem if the new arrivals had no expectation of free housing and handouts.

  43. glen cullen
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The gist of ‘first home consultation’ discussion appears to be about the cost, location and means to fund. Working on the assumption that there is in fact a housing problem relating in the main in London and South East (there are lots of cheap property in the rest of the UK but in areas people don’t want to live)

    The issue. is that most people want their homes to increase in value over time when purchased. People will generally only purchase homes that they can afford. So any real government intervention to decrease the cost of homes can only be achieved by re-introducing (a) 3x salary for mortgage (b) restrict home ownership to UK citizens (c) subsidise social rent and impose £100 pw limit (d) relocate government offices and departments throughout the UK (e) fully subsidise business rates north of London to encourage companies to re-locate and (f) subsidise building companies to build affordable cheap housing estates via tax breaks (not the current set percent of affordable housing in a build)

    If there is a problem, be bold get it fixed don’t mess with silly schemes

  44. William Long
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    This is just more socialist meddling under another name. Why not just control the price of houses and have done with it? That at least would be honest and straightforward rather than sweetening up the transfer of value from one person to another. If there is justification for value going from its owner to someone else, that someone else should only be the state through taxation and not to some lucky individual.

  45. anon
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    If land is given over to planning permission.

    It should be compulsory purchased by the government based on its agricultural value.

    The land should then be made available for building onsite or factory builds.

    The state should hold the freehold on a common-hold basis.

    Loans at a fixed rate could be made available from the state at a fixed multiple of your gross paye salary, to pay for the build or kit home.

    Banks could then contract to service these mortgages.

    The council or central goverment should provide the common roads and infrastructure and recover this via a road tax and or utility surcharge on the post code for the next 10 years or so.

    1) Imagine builders making money by building?
    2) Land “owners” making productive use of the land and not “thin air gains on the back of immigration or societies growth needs”
    3) No fleasehold! rentier companies extracting value.
    4) Banks making an honest living by providing a service for a fixed fee related to the service costs.

    Dissappointing from Boris so far. He should have scrapped HS2 and spent the money on a better Galileo and other high value returns and renewables to provide long term very low cost energy. Reducing imports and providing security. Any excess power will be harnessed as the ecosystem develops around it.

  46. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Keeping it simple is the difficult part. The more there is administration the more others will seek to exploit it.

    It is right that no tax-payer money should be part of the contribution, that also distorts the market.

    Developers and their ‘Land Banks’ only have value in these assets because of the infrastructure they rely on is already funded by the tax-payers in that community. At the moment they do not pay tax on this accrued benefit, whereas everyone else does.

    It could be reasoned that if they put back into the community for the first time buyers in that community they(the developers) could be spared the tax that everyone else is subsidizing them with.

    We must never loose site everyone else (personal & business) is paying more tax so as Property Developers can enjoy the benefit of the infrastructure and the wealth of the communities they move into, without having to contribute to it.

    It is also right as suggested that any subsidized purchase at the time of moving or profit taking passes these saving back into the pot so others may also benefit. Logic is done intelligently it could be come self financing for future generations and not feed distortion or the spiraling further of prices.

  47. steve
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Why not just make it illegal to sell for more than you paid. That would give those starting out a chance.

    • Mark
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      It would give no incentive for anyone who bought more than 5 years ago to sell. So the market would be very constricted.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        What a mad idea. I suppose people would then start swapping homes to get round this lunacy or using a valuable painting or similar. The market just needs sensible relaxation of planning, lower taxes and less red tape and they will supply. Not more daft and complex government schemes and back door taxation.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

          Cancel HS2 and us the money saved to reduce stamp duty and the other idiotic property taxes Hammond/Osborne introduced.

  48. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    A friend who already owned 8 homes bought a London flat reserved for ‘essential workers’ and subsidised – just like this proposal. The teacher who was selling the flat could not find an ‘essential worker’ to buy it, so it was sold out of that sector on the quiet and at the same discount.
    This scheme does not work! Let the market value property and all Government can do to increase its benefit is to drop the stake (billions and billions sequestrated from the private sector) it confiscated – known as ‘stamp duty’.

    • APL
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Lynn Atkinson: “A friend who already owned 8 homes bought a London flat reserved for …”

      An acquaintance of mine, had bought his new build in North London, which he let out, at the same time as he was living in subsidised council accommodation in East London.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        They are using the daft system that pertains!

        • APL
          Posted February 19, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic: “They are using the daft system that pertains!”

          Maybe, but is it lawful?

          Or did my acquaintance commit fraud?

          I doubt he would have been eligible for council accommodation if he had declared he was a property owner in another part of town. So, I suspect, yes.

          And, Yes, you are correct, the more rules and regulations the more graft and backhanders to get around the rules and regulations.

  49. Richard1
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Free up the planning system and break the oligopoly of a shoddy-building big house builders. Build on the urban scrub of the ‘green belt’ which occupies 13x the land of all houses and gardens put together. Abolish the dreadful help to buy scheme. Economist Liam Halligan has written an excellent book – it’s all there. We have a Conservative Govt, let’s have Conservative policies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Exactly Liam Halligan in usually sound unlike most BBC favoured economist “expert” dopes.

  50. Ian
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    A soft policy on immigration for decades, countless hundreds have come in, almost no one deported.
    Take the current mess in the Chanel, people being picked up and brought ashore, and just passed on, not taken back ?

    There is only now the flap to build on green field extra schools, extra housing extra hospitals and surgery s.
    It is no ones fault except the politicians ?

  51. John E
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    For heaven’s sake stop the government interference and meddling. The length of this article shows the mess of unintended consequences and complexity that results from the government trying to micro manage people’s private affairs. Butt out.

    Reform the planning process. Recoup the gains from planning permission being granted to the local council.

    But I don’t suppose the builders would like that and they do contribute generously to the Conservative party.

    So all this proposal is is smoke and mirrors to divert attention from the way the current system is designed to make land owners and oligopolic builders wealthy at our expense.

  52. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    A way to reward those that are capable enough would be to make cheap land plots available for people to design and build their own homes cheaply.
    A similar scheme worked in Germany whereby friends with different skills completed different aspects of the home. But there is nothing to stop the government from organizing some kind of barter system to make this kind of thing possible for more young people.

    The thing that annoys me most about newly built homes from construction companies is that the prices in no way reflect the cost of building – Houses are always sold at prices equivelent to what ‘used’ houses are selling for, rather than cost plus 20% profit – Isn’t this profiteering?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      What on earth is wrong with making a profit? Anyway the developers usually have to buy the land (they do not get it for free) so if you sold just for the build cost plus 20% they would probably be making a loss so would not do it. Plus they would have thousands of people wanting to buy it as under value – all of whom except one would not get it anyway.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 4:57 am | Permalink

        The person who did get it would then have all the profit rather than the developer! You are just robbing from one to give to the other.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Profit is not a bad thing except when it’s excessive, and it strikes me that developers are making far more profit on houses – compared to their costs – and selling at highest possible market rates. Surely that is not going to help people get on the property ladder?

        The profit can be shred between new owners and developers, with a clause that properties are not sold on for 5 years, say.

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      BH, generally new houses enjoy a premium over existing ones and the price of a house is based on the cost of buying new land to replace it.

  53. Mark
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    There are about a million people in a year age group, so you can say about 500,000 new households per year on average. Most of them will take on existing homes, not new ones: the majority at present will be renting anyway in the present property bubble conditions. Since we also have about 700,000 deaths a year (soon to be rising as baby boomers age), much of the supply comes via the housing chain from those who have died.

    It seems highly invidious to hand out enormous benefits to one particular group – the first time purchasers of new properties – at the expense of everyone else. Rather, we need policies that unwind the property bubble with the least damage. Encouraging landlords to sell to owner occupiers (it doesn’t matter whether they are first or nth time buyers – the supply to first time buyers is increased via housing chains) by reducing or eliminating their CGT bill would make far more sense than the present attempts to add to landlord costs (and thus push up rents). Effective capping of mortgage lending would limit what buyers can pay: additional borrowing would be unsecured, and thus much more expensive.

    If we get the general level of house prices down in real terms, then all housing becomes more affordable, and there is no need of subsidies. It will take time to achieve, but unless there is a clear aim to pursue it, the market will in the end do it anyway, and perhaps much more brutally. 2008/9 is just a foretaste.

  54. zorro
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see that the Chinese are offering to build HS2 at a fraction of the cost/time of the usual suspects. I wonder if they will be donating to the Tory Party 😉…. The Atlantic warriors again complaining that we are compromising security. Just as well iPhones aren’t made in China or any other goods from China aren’t imported into USA or Europe 😏…. WAR PLAN RED


  55. Irene
    Posted February 15, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I had heard it rumoured that you edit comments. But I didn’t believe it until now. How much has been edited out from all comments? Even when there is no rational or sensible reason for editing out the original comments. To say that I am shocked would be an understatement. But then again, why should anyone be surprised.

    Reply Very few edited, and if so that is marked in the text

    • Irene
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Not always marked in the text.

  56. Lifelogic
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    Why are “local people, veterans and key workers like teachers and nurses” any more deserving than someone who works in a shop, fixes your roof, moved recently to the area or mows your lawn?

    • Fred H
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      LL – – why would you need to use a service provided from outside the local area to mow your lawn, work in a shop, fix your roof?

  57. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The one thing I like about this proposal is the covenant to pass the discount on to future buyers.

    It seems to me that this covenant should be written into all public sector asset sales where private sector benefits. There is no reason why the purchaser should not receive proportional profits but the discount benefit should be passed on through the generations.

    Fewer council houses might have changed hands if this approach had been followed.

  58. Dunedin
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The government consultation paper says “we know further action is needed to support home ownership and ensure that young people today have the same opportunity as their parents and grandparents” – good sentiment, but does not take account of the effect of changed educational and home owning aspirations.

    Yorkshire Building Society published some analysis of first-time buyers (media centre 30 July 2019 for anyone who wishes to google it) which found that 32% of potential first-time buyers were aiming for a detached house as their first property, 49% would consider a semi-detached house, while only 24% would consider a studio or flat (I assume some expressed more than one preference since the total is 105%). The average age of a first time buyer has risen to 31.

    This research would suggest that the property ladder method used by previous generations, of starting with a small flat in a cheaper area and trading up has largely broken down. This may be due to the costs involved in buying/selling/and moving house.

    The rising age of first-time buyers may be partly explained by the increasing numbers of young people leaving school later, going to university and starting work much later than previous generations, but with no guarantee of getting a high salary to justify taking on a lot of debt.

    As well as considering the supply and demand for property, I think we need to have a number of discussions:

    – with youngsters about the cost/value of degrees they may be considering, and whether it is worth delaying starting work and taking on a large amount of student debt.
    – with the taxpayers – are they happy to end up paying for the 70% plus of student debt which will not be repaid.
    – with employers – why do so many want to hire graduates for jobs which did not need a degree in the past? Can they consider more day-release (which used to be popular for HND/HNC and other qualifications) and on-the-job training.

    A quick look on Rightmove for properties around £85k (3 x median salary plus deposit) finds plenty of starter properties eg: 1-2 bedroom flats in a 10 mile radius of Glasgow or Manchester. A 30 mile radius from London finds studios and some 1 bed flats under £100k and there are shared ownership properties available under £50k.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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