Debate Magazine

Help To Buy - the Sequel

Posted on the 15 October 2018 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

Having established that the previous iteration of Help To Buy was an unqualified success, enabling 'home builders' to bump up their selling prices by ten percent, the Homeys at the Centre for Policy Studies have suggested a new wheeze, namely giving sitting tenants a 6.66% deposit if they buy the home they are renting, pushing up prices by 6.66% compared to the baseline; and then reducing the ex-landlord's CGT bill by one-third as a bonus (emailed in by Lola).
The maths and logic in that paper are all over the place, but it boils down to that.
From page 18:
... this is a substantial reduction in their tax bill and could encourage them to sell up.
But if they did not want to sell up, then that is their business – no one should force them to dispose of their own property, or punish them for owning it.

This is dog-whistle for "no one should force them to pay a market rate for the value of all the public services which help maintain the value of their land and buildings", only tenants should pay for those, and pay twice over. They pay for the cost with PAYE and VAT and for the value through the rent they pay. To use their own terminology, tenants are being punished twice over.
Most lolzworthy of all is the sub-heading to the report:
How to restore home ownership by turning private tenants into owners
The easiest - and tried and tested - way of doing that is by imposing rent controls and/or making it nigh impossible to evict a tenant. Rent controls don't benefit tenants as such, the end result is more owner-occupiers, i.e. ex-tenants who can save more towards a deposit and pay lower prices. Yes, yes, I know this is very much a second best solution, but beggars can't be choosers.


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