Lifetime ISAs: further provision

Part of Savings (Government Contributions) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:30 pm ar 27 Hydref 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Llafur, Luton North 12:30, 27 Hydref 2016

I rise to support my hon. Friend’s new clause. Many of us have long been concerned about the massive rise in house prices. I will give a simple example. When I bought my first house in Luton in 1969, house prices were three times average earnings. Now in Luton, they are 12 times average earnings.

Millions of people are seeing the possibility of home ownership disappearing. Owner-occupation is in decline; it is becoming a smaller sector, and we are seeing an opening up of major social divisions between owner-occupiers and renters. For owner-occupiers, equity will cascade down the generations, and their children and grandchildren will stay in the owner-occupied sector because they will inherit the equity. Those who are not in the sector and do not have sufficient income will remain outside the sector, as will successive generations after them—unless they win the lottery or become extremely wealthy for some other reason, but that will apply to only a small number. The great majority of people will find it very difficult to become owner-occupiers if they do not have equity handed down by their forebears.

Adding extra cash to help people who are already likely to be in a position to buy their own home will simply increase house prices further and take home ownership even further away from those who do not have equity and are unlikely to be able to afford a home. We have to see some action by Government over time at least to stabilise house prices, so that more people can get into owner-occupation, and so that those who aspire to be a homeowner have a realistic prospect of becoming one.

I support what my hon. Friend said. We have to build many more houses. The only way to stabilise house prices is to raise supply, not increase demand, which would just push house prices up. It is not the price of houses that is increasing, but the price of the land on which they are built. The cost of building a house does not increase by that amount; it is the land on which it is built. There is a case for land value taxation and doing something about the price of land.

It is a mad world. In 1969, I thought becoming an owner-occupier was a bit of an adventure, but I could afford it on one income—mine, which was not massively high, because I was a trade union research officer. Nevertheless, I could afford to buy a three-bedroom house with a garage and gardens back and front—a nice, typically British home, which we might all aspire to. If I were trying to buy the same house now, with the same sort of income, in the same town, I would have great difficulty. On my generous parliamentary salary, I might stand a better chance, but not on the salary that I had at the time, so I think my hon. Friend the Member for Bootle is absolutely right, and I support his new clause 3.