Sunday, March 02, 2008

Price control and envy politics

A few weeks ago, as many will recall, Gordon Brown nationalised a bank. According to a number of commentators at the time, this did not represent a return to 1970s Keynesian or old-style socialism accept for the more loudly shouting "right-wing blogs". Whether you accept that or not is down to you I guess, but what I will say is this, take a look at this story in today's Sunday Times and tell me that it's not evidence of pre-Thatcherite economic understanding.

According to the reports, Brown is intending to introduce powers to interfere in the housing market and stop people buying more than one property. There appears to be from the Government a couple of drivers for wanting to do this. Firstly, they believe that prices are being driven upwards shutting out first-time buyers by people buying country homes as weekend residences.

Some good old fashioned price control tinkering huh? All to create something known as an "affordable home". Can I just take a moment to point out that all homes are affordable, otherwise they wouldn't bloody sell would they? What the Government actually mean with their classic sticking together of two words to create a catchy phrase that appeals to anyone who might want to buy a home but cannot yet find one that they can afford.

It's also a term that is, when you place it next to this policy, completely steeped within class warfare. An "affordable home" is meant to be a home that an ordinary person can afford as opposed to one that only the rich can afford. Introducing rules to stop someone buying a second home has just a hint of envy politics about it don't you think? Another oh so 1970s old socialist trait. I wonder if MPs will be banned from buying second homes with their allowances? [yeah right! - ed]


Barnacle Bill said...

Or is this a fiendish attempt by Mr. Bean to clean up politics by banning MPs from buying second homes?

MB said...

It might seem obvious but won't one house be bought in the wife's name?

I hardly think it will affect the wealthy, their accountants will soon find a way around it.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

MPs will:

(a) be allowed to have a second home in the country, even if ordinary mortals are not;

(b) be allowed to travel without identity cards, because they are in a special security category;

(c) be allowed to claim expenses without receipts;

(d) take their holidays in Black Sea resorts in hotels reserved for party members.

Oh! Sorry. That last one was in the Soviet Union. I forgot.

Anonymous said...

Can't they just tax second homes. We already have to declare our principal place of residence to avoid Capital Gains tax. Empty second homes should be highly taxed and not given Rate Relief because they are empty. This would not prevent the rich having second or third homes but it might help to reduce absurd taxes like the no-dom charge.

john miller said...

Ahh I think you are wrong here Dizzy, just think of the hundreds of houses dumped on the market as all MP's give up their second homes! This of course will create "affordable housing" by driving down the price...

Eh, what? There will be exceptions ofr some people? Who? Oh.

John M Ward said...

You are of course completely correct about all homes being "affordable" otherwise they'd be lying empty.

This whole concept (although there is possible merit in it if applied properly) is, in the Labour Government's eyes, simply a way to subsidise housing for their preferred parts of society.

If you look into it (as I suspect you have already done) it turns out to be a way to make the rest of us pay towards housing for Unionised public sector workers only (i.e., those who will vote Labour), apart from a very few others to try to camouflage this obvious gerrymandering.

We in my council had a presentation on this a while ago, and I spotted what to me was an obvious manipulation. Have a look at my article HERE and see if you agree.

still sick of nulab crap said...

A classic NuLab smokescreen. Of course they don't want house prices to come down. Much of our 'growth' is based on borrowing against inflated house prices.
As for the 2nd home ban. A less totalitarian but credibly 'left wing' approach is to build loads of houses, like Maggie did.
This is what NuLab promised but...failed to deliver. Hence they reach for the weird totalitarian levers.

Labour Plans (or the 'Glorious five minute plan'):

Plan A: Increase tax.
Plan B: Denounce somebody
Plan C: Ban something
Plan D: Annouce the previous plans again & again.

nick said...

Why should second homes in the country be treated any differently from what TV property shows insist on calling "city crash pads", owned by those who already have a big house within an easy commute of the city? More votes for Labour in the cities than the countryside I'd have thought...

Anonymous said...

And if you inherit a second property, will they make you nominate which one they can confiscate?

dreamingspire said...

Its not the bricks and mortar (or whatever) that is escalating in price, its the right of the house to be on a piece of land - land values. Think of the various suggestions as a way to manage land use, please.

Livin' the Buy To Let Dream said...

I notice he's not targeting 'multiple home owners' ie those with their Buy To Let 'portfolios' that Brown has so actively encouraged with tax breaks.

These so called 'investors' are mainly resposible for pricing first time buyers out of the market.

I'm looking on with glee as these financial muppets loose their shirts as the housing market continues to fall.