‘Help to Buy’: 61% of Lib Dem members oppose Government’s cheap mortgage scheme

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Party members reject ‘Help to Buy’ by 61% to 27%

Do you support or oppose providing a government guarantee to encourage banks to offer 95% mortgages to homebuyers, available for homes costing up to £600,000?

    5% – Strongly Support
    22% – Support
    Total support = 27%
    9% – Neither support nor oppose
    34% – Oppose
    27% – Strongly Oppose
    Total oppose = 61%
    Don’t know

Danny Alexander passionately defends ‘Help to Buy’, arguing “A good home should not be a luxury for the few, but an achievable aspiration for the many”.

Vince Cable has been clear about his concerns, though, openly worrying that it has triggered a “raging housing boom” in London and the South-East.

And two months ago, I asked the question “Does any Lib Dem except Danny Alexander support the Coalition’s ‘Help to Buy’ house price inflation scheme?”

In answer to my question, just over one-quarter (27%) of Lib Dem members do support ‘Help to Buy’, 1-in-20 of you strongly. A substantial majority (61%) disagree, though… just over one-quarter (27%) of you strongly.

Here’s a selection of your comments…

* The obsession with homowning caused the biggest recession in living memory – why are we helping people who cannot afford it get into more debt ?
* Support with the caveat that all mortgages are done on affordability criteria taking into account potential future moves in interest rates. Would also like to see these mortgages offer on a fixed lifetime rate to address this issue
* Except it needs to be coupled with more house building, and I would have set the limit a bit lower the £600k
* It just stokes house prices which benefits mainly estate agents, who are partially responsible for prices being so high.
* House prices need to come down. This will drive them up. People I people cannot find 10% in advance, they are unlikely to be able to cope with mortgage.
* Has simply made house prices more expensive while making owning or renting a house more expensive for those who are already unable to afford housing costs. A subsidy to the well healed middle classe.
* Support but up to £600,000 is too high.
* It distorts the markets and encourages ghastly unwanted building of expensive housing estate by vandal developers without providing wanted and affordable homes.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 749 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 14th and 18th December.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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    3 Comments

    • “…potential future moves in interest rates…”

      No. Certain, necessary increases in interest rates.

    • The answer to people not being able to afford to buy a house is simple: build more homes! The answer isn’t to help ppl afford the sky-high prices of what few homes they’re are. If we don’t see more homes built politicians will face an ever-growing number of increasingly angry voters. I’ve got one msg for our ministers: sort it.

    • We need the government to get back into mass rental. A mass building program of quality, council-built and owned homes rented to working people at fair, controlled rental levels designed to force private rental prices down rather than provided as social housing.

      Controlling house price inflation at below wage inflation levels should be official government policy and we need the political willingness to take radical action to achieve that. We cannot continue to act as if treating housing as an investment isn’t widely toxic but, equally, the individual costs of a collapse in house prices is too high so we need a controlled softening of house prices.

      As usual, accepting a higher level of inflation would help all round. The 2% target needs to go.

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