X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Forget market meddling like Help to Buy: political parties should be hunting private renters

23 July 2013

7:26 PM

23 July 2013

7:26 PM

Ministers have been out in force today to trumpet the many virtues of a bit of market meddling also known as Help to Buy, with the details of the second phase of the scheme launched today by George Osborne. Even Mark Prisk, nicknamed by some Tory colleagues as the Invisible Minister, made it onto the World at One to argue that the scheme wouldn’t create a house price bubble because the government was doing enough to increase the supply of housing.

[Alt-Text]


Whether or not you believe this depends on whether you truly think the planning reforms have given local people more choice and have liberalised the system, or whether they’ll simply antagonise communities without increasing the number of homes.

Prisk’s colleague Sajid Javid wanted to talk about the proof this scheme offers that ‘this government unashamedly backs aspiration’.

Perhaps it does. But rather than backing aspiration for those at the bottom of the housing ladder by, er, pushing the bottom rung a little higher, perhaps ministers should be having a good long think about those aspirational voters who will continue to rent because they cannot afford to buy. The housing market doesn’t look as though it will get any less messed up any time soon. And as Fraser blogged recently, aspirational voters are increasingly seeing a trap in homeownership rather than an opportunity. This means that the party with its eyes on the prize for the 2015 general election should work on a really strong offer for private renters, whether or not they aspire to own their own homes. Labour has already floated some ideas on this, and I hear the Tories are up to something too. Ideas that seem popular with both parties include increasing the number of long-term tenancy agreements which would encourage rent stability (better than the rent controls Labour toys with every so often) and help families who want to stay in the same school catchment area for a number of years, rather than being forced to move by regular rent rises or landlords selling up. Meanwhile Labour is working on its own new set of planning reforms based on a new brand of localism. But perhaps the prize for capturing aspirational generation Y voters will go to the pragmatists who offer something for renters, rather than the meddlers who think home ownership is worth pursuing at any cost.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close