Credit crunch

If the Devil is in the detail then he is dancing a jig around the regulations for the universal credit and the benefit cap.

Ok, I am exaggerating for effect but by how much? Take a look at the response (PDF here) from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) to the consultation by the Social Security Advisory committee that closed on the opening day of the Olympics and you decide.

Many of the same points are being made by the CIH, NHF and others but they have an added impact coming from the organisation representing lenders that have invested £60 billion in social housing and cannot be easily dismissed by ministers as coming from the ‘housing industry’. Read the rest of this entry »


Broken record

Even as the Olympics provide compelling evidence that Britain is not as broken as the government makes out, the anniversary of the riots is a reminder that it is not fixed either.

In the glow from the marvellous opening ceremony and the stellar performances of the athletes it’s easy to forget that we are a country in austerity and recession.  Perhaps that’s because we weren’t when we won the games and when the stadia and all the other facilities were funded.

The Olympics and the Paralympics that follow are like a holiday from the cuts, unemployment and welfare ‘reform’. The thousands of volunteers who are being hailed as a living embodiment of the Big Society are happily working for nothing for the common good rather than being made to work for nothing for private contractors. And the homes that will be built at the athletes village and on the Olympic park will be a lasting legacy of all that investment.

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Why every little will not help much

The launches of Tesco mortgages and the Funding for Lending scheme have led to some hope at last for the dysfunctional housing market. Here’s why I don’t think they will make much difference.

In the short term at least, most of the benefits look like going (yet again) to existing owners rather than frustrated first-time buyers.

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