Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Today's Tories: Generation Not-a-Clue

Cameron's going to turn us into Generation Buy, is he?

When I was young and foolish (20), I took out my first mortgage - £11,000 for a studio flat. Two years later, we sold it for £15,000, and thought we'd done pretty well. A few years later, the late 80's Yuppie boom saw the same flats going for around £40,000 (they were close to the railway line to London). Quite a price for a 12' x 24' room with a kitchenette in one corner and a bathroom.

(They now go for £70-80,000)

When we took out our current £47,500 mortgage in 1993, I was a Scale 4 Admin Officer and my partner was a Clerical Officer, both working for a city council. Our combined income would probably have been in the mid-£20,000s at most. It was a bit of a stretch financially, but it was still cheaper than renting, thanks to MIRAS, etc. Of course, tax subsidies for mortgage payments were phased out, but we could still just about keep our heads above water.

Just before the crash in 2007 we had, through the "hard work" that Cameron and his ilk set so much store by, reached the heady heights of Senior/Principal Officer level, with a household income of around £52,000. Yippee!

Except that in that time, house price inflation had boosted the value of our house to around £250,000, so we couldn't have afforded to buy the house we were already living in, despite decent salaries.

Then came my outsourcing (a combination of New Labour government and council actions) and subsequent severance (from Capita - a merciful release), followed by my partner's departure from MCC thanks to coalition cuts. I'm now back at work (on a little under £16,000 a year), and he's surviving on £60 a week Carers Allowance (with no time off or outside support), and our house is now worth around £180,000. Again, we could not afford to buy the house we live in. And in today's inflated market, renting would also be beyond us.

So, Mr Cameron:

1) Do you realise how little most people actually earn in this country? The "average" of £26,500 is a pipe dream for most of us (I only earned at or above that for about 4 of my 22 years' local government service)

2) Do you remember the Blessed Margaret's devotion to home ownership, which resulted in profligate lending and rampant price-inflation? Boosted by that wheeze of selling off council houses as loss-leaders that brought the whole thing crashing down in the early 90's (which was how we picked up a decent 3 bedroom house for £50,000). If it was unsustainable when prices still bore some relation to reality, how's it going to work this time?

You can only be "Generation Buy" if you have secure employment and sufficient income to meet your lovely new mortgage. Nothing your government has done in 5 years has made anyone's employment more secure, and despite what we're told by the media, I know no-one who's had a salary increase in years.

Oh, and if you're under 25, forget home ownership - you're simply "not productive enough" to earn enough to take out a mortgage!