Yorkshire Post  26 May 2005 John Meadowcroft
Gordon Browns proposals for helping first-time buyers and key workers to enter the housing market may well prove to be the policy that undoes the Chancellors reputation for competence and prudence. While the proposal to free more land for development is to be welcomed although it does not go far enough other measures announced yesterday are unlikely to achieve their stated objectives and may seriously undermine economic stability.
The shared ownership scheme announced by the Chancellor to help first time buyers is an extension of a scheme already in place in some parts of the country to help key workers. It is in effect a housing subsidy paid for by £1bn of taxpayers money, albeit a subsidy arrived at by a rather convoluted process. Like all subsidies, it is not guaranteed to achieve its stated aim: it may simply raise prices by the same amount as it subsidises home-purchasing, thus having no effect on those it is trying to help while making houses less affordable for those outside the scheme.
The long-standing provision of housing subsidies for &