“It is time to turn benefits into bricks – to help many more people open the door to home ownership” – Work and Pensions Secretary @theresecoffey
— DWP Press Office (@dwppressoffice) June 9, 2022
There are four parts to the plan
- Having money in savings destined for a housing deposit will not count against you claiming housing benefit. You can save and get paid for saving by the DWP
- Money you claim for housing benefit won’t have to be used to pay rent – in future the DWP can pay your mortgage.
- It won’t just be Government housing (council house) that will be eligible under “right to buy”, it will include housing association properties
- The Government is going to review the availability of low deposit mortgages – encouraging the extension of its current 95% mortgage scheme.
It’s easy to see why this scheme is chosen as the flagship policy for Boris Johnson’s political recovery. Margaret Thatcher achieved the lasting support of a section of the population who became homeowners under right to buy in the 1980, this is intended to be the sequel (and there is no equivalent to the Falklands).
Of course there are issues, credit-worthiness is an issue, housing stock is an issue and the impact on tax-payers will be an issue, if it becomes evident that the Government’s munificence is a trick that they pick up the bill for. And we have had the odd financial crisis of late, linked to savings and loans of this type.
But like so many populist plans, the possibility that it might just work, outweighs the risk that it mightn’t.
And when you are in a hole, you get yourself a ladder – which this looks like it could be. Of course it’s all very vague and there are no dates. That’s because almost certainly this is back of envelope stuff that wins votes now while the country pays later (pension freedom stuff).
But what of that? The primary task of Boris Johnson is to stay in power, so all rabbits are gratefully extracted from available hats.