As our regular followers will know, here at Cheshire & Co we usually blog once a week, but this morning, whilst training for the Cwmbran marathon (no, me neither..), a local newsstand caught my attention. Our Prime Minister-not the underling who is very much the lesser party in the bro-mance (remember the puppy dog eyes and man hugs in the garden at 10 Downing Street five years ago?)-has announced that the current Government, if re-elected (it did not state whether it included our saffron-wearing friends), will extend the right to buy scheme to 1.3 million households currently living in housing association properties. This has thrown up some interesting questions:
1. How many housing association tenants will actually qualify for a mortgage? Hence the reason that they are in an association property. The recently introduced mortgage stress tests (designed to give reason as to why no institution has any reason to loan anything to anybody…), will not so much be stressed as have a complete nervous breakdown.
2. Once all the housing association properties have been sold, will all the staff at these non-profit organisations be made redundant? Will they feel so charitable then?
3. As is constantly howled from the ramparts, will the acute housing shortage only increase in size and will more social housing be built, thus knocking thousands off the market value of any property in close proximity? Harsh, but true.
4. How will first time buyers feel, who have recently bought a non-housing association property, having saved hard for a deposit? I would imagine that it rhymes with ‘missed’.
5. Will ardent non-Conservative or anti-Conservative voters take advantage of the scheme if the Conservatives get in?
There are many people all over the country, covering the entire political colour spectrum, who are living in substantial properties, thanks to Mrs Thatcher giving them the opportunity thirty years ago to get a foot on the first rung of the housing ladder. There are also many who would rather have their eyes poked out than give an iota of ‘thanks’ to the aforementioned “witch” as I have had heard her called several times in these parts, who still live in the former council house that they bought thirty years ago when right to buy was in its infancy. I have yet to meet anyone who in an anti-capitalist stance has given back the keys to their property in order to realise some long-held desire to help society. As has often been commented upon,’An Englishman’s home is his castle’. In the interests of fairness and probity, one should replace ‘Englishman’ with Scotsman or Welshman. And in case Clare Balding is reading this, it could/should replace ‘man’ with ‘woman’.
I just wonder whether as integral a part of the manifesto and as headline grabbing as it is, it will get the ‘blue collar’ voters to tick the blue box? If in doubt, the undecided could always pick green as their colour of choice; after all, a key point of their manifesto is to ban the Grand National. Something that immediately springs to mind when one is struggling to pay the mortgage or is praying to every god that exists that having broken your leg, you are close enough to the border to be taken to hospital in England not Wales.
Nick Robinson moment over, continue as you were..