Coffee House

How ‘Help to Buy’ helps the Tories

10 November 2013

4:55 PM

10 November 2013

4:55 PM

Few images are more seared in the Tory consciousness than that of Margaret Thatcher handing over the keys to people who had brought their council house under ‘right to buy’. The image seemed to sum up the aspirational appeal of Thatcherism.

I suspect that there’ll be a slight homage to these images when Cameron meets some of those that the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is helping onto the housing ladder tomorrow. Number 10 wants to show that the full scheme, which has only been running for a month, is already being used by a large number of people.

The economics behind ‘Help to Buy’ might make many on the right nervous; even some Cabinet ministers are worried about it stoking another housing bubble. But, as I say in the Mail on Sunday, Tory critics of the scheme are biting their tongues because they know how politically potent it could be for the party. First, it does show that the party is on the side of those who want to get on. Second, it creates more property-owners—and those who own, rather than rent, are significantly more likely to vote Tory.


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Show comments
  • Godwin The Law Maker

    Oh please James, this is nonsense. Are Scotland and the North of England’s failure to vote tory due to lack of homeowners? You really should leave central office a bit more often.

  • Lady Magdalene

    I do hope Forsyth is as keen to lay the blame for the next deliberately created debt-based housing bubble where it belongs: with Osborne and Cameron.
    My son isn’t very impressed by it. He has been saving for his first flat and was hoping to buy one this year or next. Prices are already rising significantly in the SE, whilst his salary isn’t, so he is being priced out of the market once again.

    • ScaryBiscuits

      Exactly. The law of unintended consequences. A well-meaning neo-socialist (let’s call him Gideon) wants to help people onto the housing ladder. We don’t know if this is cynical vote farming or a genuine attempt to help but let’s assume the latter. Either way, a house price increase of 6% (which is what @disqus_79jCgmKjAd:disqus reports) completely wipes out the 5% government subsidy leaving young house-buyers in a worse position. It’s yet another example of deluded idiocy from the geniuses in No10. If this is the best they can come up with, they’ve no chance of winning the next election.

  • swatnan

    Talk about bribing yourself to victory … well this beats everything. You’re only going to saddle those poor ‘buyers’ with a debt, and a property they can’t dispose of that easily.

  • Alexsandr

    One wonders what ‘help’ Nadhim Zahawi MP used to buy his £1m mansion in Warwickshire? Looks like he is a bit of a thief, nicking taxpayers money for his electricity bills..
    Nothing changes at westminster does it?

  • timinsingapore

    It is a boost to a bubble that will lead many, fearful of being left out of a rising market, to take on excessive mortgages. Then, when interest rates go up, all these mortgage-clients will be in deep, deep doodoo. Splatt!! The irresponsibility of Help to Buy will rank with the other forms of financial madness that preceded the 2007/8 crash.

  • Daniel Maris

    Should this read “Help to Buy the Election”?

  • Mike Barnes

    Will Dave be doing a follow up photo-shoot in 3 years time when interest rates rise and the help to buy money tap has to be turned off and those lucky couples find themselves stuck in negative equity and can’t move out of their ‘starter homes’?

  • George_Arseborne

    I have benefited from this scheme. Will l vote the nasty Tories? Definitely No!!!!!!

  • ButcombeMan

    It might just help the Tories to a few votes from those who benefit.

    It will do that at the expense of losing the votes of some long time, “sound money” & disciplined, Tories, who believe this is a dangerous manipulation of the housing market for short term political gain and at a real risk of creating an unsustainable boom, which, when interest rates rise to snuff the danger out, will cripple many domestic budgets.

  • Daniel Maris

    You still have to be able to afford the mortgage, and with most people suffering real wage decreases year on year coupled with taxes rises and ever rising utility and transport costs, they find it increasingly difficult to afford the mortgages.

    Of course the government could do a lot to bring down the cost of housing if they stopped mass immigration. Mass immigration means we have ended up with an unparalleled population growth of 500,000 per annum.

  • London Calling

    Yes James………It was a good move by the Tories wasn’t it……….:)

  • In2minds

    The ‘Help to Buy’ thingy reminds me of the ‘car scrappage scheme’. A brilliant idea, so we were told at the time, that was eventually dropped to the sound of silence. As you say PT, Tory Central at work here.

  • GoodnightVienna

    Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, this was true but not so anymore. The Tories are intent on harmonising our property market with Continental Europe which means fewer home-owners and more renters.

    • David Lindsay

      A reversion to our own historical norm, which did not end until well under 40 years ago. In fact, there will still be far more homeowners than at any time until council house sales. Before they lived in council houses, most people lived in tied cottages. “An Englishman’s home is his castle” has barely applied to Englishmen whose homes were not real castles.

      • Colonel Mustard

        That phrase did not originally refer to the ownership of bricks and mortar but to the right of the legitimate occupier to refuse entry to authority. In 1760, William Pitt (the Elder) made a declaration of this right. “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it. The rain may enter. The storms may enter. But the king of England may not enter. All his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.”

        Of course that right was dismantled with much else of similar ilk when New Labour reinforced Brussels’ Napoleonic code and facilitated squads of masked para-military police smashing in doors without first requesting entry, a tactic not even the Gestapo had used. The violation of that right to refuse entry, the obligation of the police to request entry even with a warrant, the unnecessary use of force and the criminal damage involved seem to have escaped the notice of the idiots in Parliament who are supposedly there to protect our inherited rights as free Englishmen.

        • David Lindsay

          And we’re off…

          Pitt new perfectly well that what he was saying bore no resemblance to reality for anyone outside his own caste. Nor would he have believed with any sincerity that it ought to have done.

          You are old enough to remember, although you probably managed not to notice, whole families on the roadside following peremptory eviction from tied cottages, eviction backed up by the full force of the State. That continued well into the post-War period.

          You always put me in mind of a recent interview with Princess Michael of Kent, about her new historical novel: “I have invented servants, but all the characters are real.” Until the plebs appear, almost in your own lifetime, in the textbooks employed at public schools, you really do believe that they did not exist.

          • Colonel Mustard

            And yes, once again you are descending to the ad hominem. I’ll refrain from elaborating on who you put me in mind of.

            How on earth can you know what Pitt “knew perfectly well” unless of course your apparently astonishing powers of cognisance now extend to reading the minds of the dead as well as the living?

            The same goes for what I might or might not have noticed. Whilst my comment concerned itself with the origin of the phrase in the context of your misuse of it, many of yours seem to consist of fabricating the thoughts, characters, lives and experiences of other commentators to the best advantage of the modern Labour party and its rapidly evolving revision of our history. It really is quite extraordinary and probably worthy of some psychoanalysis.

    • stdavid

      Do have a look at this – Romania is a the top of home ownership, UK rather low down in european home ownership stakes, once again, out of step and out of touch
      http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Population_by_tenure_status,_2011_(%25_of_population).png&filetimestamp=20130522183046

  • Mynydd

    If the “right to buy” was so good for the Conservative party, why did she get the chop, and Mr Blair get a landslide. There is a big difference between the right to buy with it’s 60% discount on the true value of the house, and, the “help to buy” short term help with the deposit. The main reason to jump onto the “help to buy” this year is because if you wait until next year the house will be between 10 and 20% more expensive.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      She didn’t get the chop: she decided not to contest a 2nd round in the leadership contest having easily won the 1st and only 4 (FOUR) votes short of outright victory. John Major then won in 1992 general election with more votes than any Prime Minister EVER, before or since. Landslide was in 1997.

      • David Lindsay

        Her own party got rid of her. No one else did. There is no getting around that one. No matter what they say about her now, it was they, and they alone, who got rid of her.

        • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

          Who cares what “they say”? I am just putting the facts to Mynydd

          • Mynydd

            Remember in Paris she would be contesting the next round. The cabinet then went in one by one and told her to go because they will not vote for her in the next round.

            • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

              Wrong again…check the FACTS please.She was advised by Peter Morrison (running her campaign) to consult Cabinet members one by one. They said almost to a man that they personally would support her in the second ballot BUT that they thought that she would lose (this was prearranged). I think Malcolm Rifkind was one of very few (or the only one!) that actually said he wouldn’t support her in the 2nd ballot.

    • David Lindsay

      Her assault on council housing is the one thing that her supporters still feel able to defend unconditionally.

      In reality, it created the Housing Benefit racket and it used the gigantic gifting of capital assets by the State to enable the beneficiaries to enter the property market ahead of private tenants, or people still living at home, who had in either case saved for their deposits.

      What, exactly, was or is conservative or Tory about that? Or about moving in the characters from Shameless either alongside, or even in place of, the respectable working class?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …who knows? But if one of your tribal lefty mates does any/all of that, you lefty nutters will be four square behind it. It’s a tribalist thing, you know.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Good Lord, he’s typing another volume.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            It is your own fault for encouraging such a tedious left wing bore to fill this thread with his fatuous assertions.

        • David Lindsay

          Indeed, it is.

          Thatcher never understood, and perhaps she had a point on this, how people not only continued to vote Labour, but even continued to be re-elected repeatedly as Labour Councillors, after having bought their council houses. Yet they did. And they do.

          The rise of owner-occupation and the decline of the Conservatives as the natural party of government, to the point that they might never return to office on their own and already have not done so in a generation, have corresponded very closely indeed.

          Due to the other factors of that period, which have created a largely owner-occupying tribal Labour vote almost large enough to win a General Election on its own.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            As a tribalist lefty stooge, you may not understand that some people, mostly conservatives and often paleoconservatives, do things for the simple fact that they’re the right thing to do, and not just because of petty and temporal partisan politics.

            As I say, not having any connection to conservative thought and temperament would leave you with no understanding of any of this.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Oh for Heaven’s sake… here it comes.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                I am now guilty of the same offence of encouraging this bore.

            • David Lindsay

              That is a false dichotomy, but you are too stupid to understand how or why.

              You are a very bitter old man, who in his lifetime has watched himself be overtaken and supplanted by everyone whom he grew up assuming to be inferior.

              You cannot understand how the old white blowhard in the room is not accorded the automatic deference and the physical fear that he would have been in the past.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …and always, the tribalist lefty stooge, once exposed, always shrieks “waaaaaaaycism”. It is inevitable.

                I accept your complete surrender, lad .

                • David Lindsay

                  Point proved.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …the one on your knife or your head?

                • David Lindsay

                  You are the one in a pointy hood.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …so it’s both, then?

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Of course the bias in respect of parliamentary boundaries in favour of the Labour party has nothing to do with any of this. The fact that had Labour polled the same number of votes in 2010 as the Tories did they would have had a substantial majority is of course irrelevant in your tiny mind. Your theories are, as always, ludicrous and yet you feel compelled to bore us all to distraction.

            • David Lindsay

              They boundaries didn’t materialise in 2010. You haven’t won a General Election since 1992. And if the boundaries are unfair, then why haven’t you changed them? “The big , strong, nasty Lib Dems wouldn’t let us” is not an answer.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                I was going to use your line: “I could answer but I am not going to” when asked about how all those renationalisations were going to be financed but that would be pathetic. My recollection is that the Conservatives tried to redress the issue by reducing the number of seats to 600 but as they do not command an absolute majority and those great upholders of democracy in the Labour Party chose not to support this move, they failed. Understandably, Labour wishes to cling on to this unfair advantage as it cannot hope to persuade more than 35% of the voters who actually turn out to vote for their fetid party.

                • HookesLaw

                  Its good isn’t it to see how sick and miserable the little clique of socialists still are over letting honest decent people buy their own council houses.
                  its also interesting to see how narked the fruit loop right are over this govt acting to unlock the financial system and doing something to help people recover from the mess left yet again by the socialists.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, it’s all about tribalism with you socialists, isn’t it?

                  You and the vivisectionist make a nice couple.

                • HookesLaw

                  Everyone is a socialist to you who is not an Aryan and does not wear a white sheet over his head.

                  Usual empty headed tea party rubbish. Looking forward to President Hillary are you or do you think the tea party will fail in its attempts to destroy the Republicans?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Everyone is a “waaaaaaycist” who isn’t a socialist global warmingist wet luvvie big government HS2 nutter like you, eh lad?

                • HookesLaw

                  You don’t like it up you do you?

                  And of course its self evident from my comments on global warming that you talk ignorant rubbish. All you want is the death of decent right wing parties in an attempt to promote your own extremist nutjobbery.
                  Say hello to the Grand Wizard.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, nobody likes what you socialists put up them, laddie, but that’s never stopped you nutters.

                  How are you Camerluvvies coming with those tractor production statistics, lad?

                • Tom Tom

                  Aryans do not wear white sheets over their heads you dimwit. Aryans are only bogeymen in your perverted mind.

              • Colonel Mustard

                2010 General Election:-

                Conservatives 10,703,654 votes 97 seats gained
                Labour 8,606,517 votes 91 seats lost
                Lib-Dems 6,836,248 votes 5 seats lost

                That is for the whole UK. Leaving aside the imbalance of constituency size it is a matter of documented fact that the Conservatives were the most popular party in the country.

                • Tom Tom

                  So only 25 million can vote in the UK ?

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  presumably you will edit your comment that currently says “So only 25 million can vote in the UK ?

  • PT

    Jesus christ. Is this piece sponsored by Tory Central? Cameron soundbites word-for-word, and the dubious claim it will create more property owners – when the evidence is that the ever deepening support the our housing market us causing a decline in ownership – in this instance, Help to Buy will likely fuel a house price surge that will price out those that don’t take advantage in the first couple of years.

    • telemachus

      Meanwhile all round the country the poor and disabled are being slung out of housing whose rents they cannot afford and having to move into misery far removed from their family and support network

      • Neotelemachus

        Nonsense Idiot #1, give one example of anybody being thrown out of their subsidised housing. You can’t because these changes are fair, and are supported by the majority. It is only the National Socialists like you who want to retain their welfare-client-state who are complaining about this excellent change by the superb IDS.

    • In2minds

      As you say PT, Tory Central working late on a Sunday!

    • HookesLaw

      Yawn. Right to Buy helps people in a condition where the banks are reluctant to lend and have to rebuild their reserves.
      There is no evidence it will fuel a boom and the Bank of England is tasked with doing something if that looks like happening.
      Help to Buy is not free money.
      In phase 1 the govt loaned money for the deposit for a fee.
      In phase 2 existing home owners get a guarantee for up to 15% of the loan.

      And Banks will have to pay a fee of 0.9 per cent of the loan value to take part in the scheme, which they are likely to recoup from customers in the form of higher interest rates.

      As an example NatWest and RBS have unveiled two-year, fixed-rate mortgages with a starting rate of 4.99 per cent. Halifax will charge 5.19 per cent for a two-year fix. So shockingly people will have to pay 5% mortgage rate with a 5% deposit.

      So stop scaremongering.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …the socialist Camerluvvie speaks.

        Tell me, has Boy George produced last month’s tractor production figures yet, lad?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Oh good Lord, now this dolt is banging up more socialist nonsense.

        • HookesLaw

          So no answer then. As usual.

          Bog off back to the swamps where as far as you are concerned everyone is a socialist if they are not an Aryan and do not wear a white sheet over their head. Do you spend bonfire night burning crosses.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …and like your fellow socialist below, it always comes down to shrieks of “waaaaaaycism”.

            • HookesLaw

              Do you think anyone cares what a thick bigot like you thinks? And what you think of course comes out clearly from your absurd accusations.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well, you socialists don’t care what we conservatives think, that’s true.

              • telemachus

                Careful Hooky
                My colleague was moderated last night for similar comment

                • Neo_Antonio_Gramsci

                  You were moderated Idiot #1, not your colleague. You are so dumb it beggars belief that you think we want to read your deluded onanistic outpourings. Do us all a favour and grow up.

                • telemachus associates

                  Our team are getting a little exercised by your stalking

                • Neotelemachus

                  So what? Don’t like what you have been dishing out? You ain’t seen nothing yet Idiot #1.

              • ScaryBiscuits

                Look in the mirror, my friend, before you call other people bigots.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            Perhaps, HookesLaw, would like to respond to Alex rather than criticising others?

      • Gareth

        There’s plenty of evidence – it’s basic economics, the bit which has worked pretty consistently since the 18th century.

      • Alex

        Have you looked at house price increases over the last 3 months?
        (That’s a genuine question). The numbers look pretty scary to me; I don’t know how much is due to Help-To-Buy, though.
        Where I am (northern market town); up 6% in 6 months. That is the result of pouring money into mortgages while building no houses, and will end in tears (and homelessness).

        • Tom Tom

          Sounds great…….Northern market town….celebrate it must be unique

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