Many of our blogs over the passing months have commented on the ever increasing histrionics surrounding good ole George and his ‘Help to Buy’ scheme (Edition 1 and 2). Those members of the 21st century Greek chorus deplored the irresponsibility of the scheme and howled how the end of the world was not so much nigh as having already begun, with the housing market heating up at a speed and temperature akin to some volcanic inferno. One of the high priests of this doom was none other than arch knife-in-the-back man Vince ‘call me Iago’ Cable. He could be heard on every media outlet, urging the residents of No’s 10 and 11 to, ‘stop it now’. On one point of clarification he was referring to the HTB scheme, not the sharpening of the knife that he was planning to stick (using someone else’s paw) in the back of his party leader. I digress. According to reports this week, the Treasury have released, “the first comprehensive measure of the scheme”, which provides an unfettered view of the damage that Help to Buy is callously and immorally foisting upon the nation. In Wales, HTB has accounted for a massive 5% of all completions in the period October 2013 to March 2014. Pass me the smelling salts Petunia, I’m coming over all light-headed…LMAO, LOL and other acronyms that are slightly less sanitised. Now various pundits who were being smothered to prevent them offering a divisive opinion are being dragged out of the undergrowth to opine that actually, the government subsidies are having a far lesser effect than was predicted in many quarters in creating the current rapid rise in house prices (in certain geographical areas).
In the UK, a total of 27,861 homes have ben sold under the two phases of the scheme. Between October 2013 and March 2014 approximately 500,000 homes were sold in the UK. Again, that pesky 5% keeps making an appearance. Of this half million. only 7,313 were bought using the mortgage guarantee scheme; a figure that correlates to an even more under-whelming figure of 1.2% of house sales.
Returning to the Hellenic theme: the chorus in any play spoke in unison, commenting on what was happening, creating a sense of unity and uniformity. Something that Vince and his cronies would do well to heed. Incidentally, the chorus originally numbered fifty, but Sophocles drastically cut the number to 12. A somewhat topical parallel perhaps with Nigel Farage and the Liberal Democrats’ seats in the European Parliament….?