Stairway to the Stars or Housing Ladder?

Frequent mention is given to the so called housing ladder. Of course the implication behind a housing ladder is property prices moving forever upwards. Recent events have proved that is not always the case, because housing markets overheated and the bubble burst. However, the term 'housing ladder' understates the case for many British Members of Parliament. They have devised a scheme for themselves, whereby the taxpayer picks up the bill for their mortgage interest. Ordinary mortals may think that is more like a stairway to the stars than a housing ladder.

Even David Cameron, the leader of the opposition, otherwise known as the Conservative Party has got in on the act. It is reported that he has gotten involved in a piece of financial juggling, that may have cost taxpayers around £22,000. It seems that British Parliamentarians can claim generous second home allowances because their place of work is away from where they normally live. Most private sector managers with jobs and salaries similar to MP's, neither get or expect to be treated so leniently.

Mr Cameron has said that he has not broken any rules, and nobody is suggesting that he has. However, there is hardly a voter in the country, who does not believe that the rules are an insult, to the expectations of most hardworking people. It has also been suggested that when property prices were overheating to unsustainable levels, the last people who wanted it to cool down, were some of those who were maximizing their property interests, by extraordinary means.

The leaders of the British political parties, including the Prime Minister must wonder what is going to be revealed next. There is little doubt that what some 'honorable members' have been receiving in various housing benefits, including mortgage interest payments, is quite scandalous, whether it is within the so called rules or not. It will certainly have an impact on the British politics, and indeed party leaders now seem to be competing to say who is going to do most to clean up the system.

Of course it is nice for everyone who buys a home to see its value increasing. Prior to the last decade there have been peaks and troughs but the general medium to long term trend has been upwards. Modest sustainable growth in property prices is healthy enough but if an unprecedented, unregulated property boom is allowed to get out of hand it will always end in tears for the majority. Its not nearly so bad though for those whose mortgage interest, furnishings, garden expenses and much more are met by taxpayers who are already in shock from the great banking fiasco!


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