So about this whole ‘was it/wasn’t it a Help to Buy PR stunt’ story in the UK is a little silly, mainly because this woman has legitimately taken advantage of the government’s program to help people onto the housing ladder. She’s qualified for it and therefore no matter how stupid the policy is she’s entitled (I hate using that word) to using taxpayer support to purchase a property. Trending Central did a pretty robust fact check on this. What’s more the attacks on the woman are pretty shocking.
However, reporters have really missed the main story here which is about how Help to Buy is simply corporate welfare, using the fruits of taxpayers to boost banks, the construction industry, and property agents. It was a PR stunt, but not in the way some people in the left-wing media have portrayed it. It also says a lot about David Cameron’s team that they would send the prime minister out to meet someone who works as a property agent to, well, talk up a government initiative that helps property agents.
That’s naked corporate welfare. That’s the real story here. Not about the agent herself, but about how the industry at large is using taxpayers’ funds to line their pockets, inflate prices, and shift economic consumption away from productive assets towards bricks and mortar. The prime minister, apparently, lacking faith in the free market is all too happy to participate as a spokesperson/prop for this government-backed, get rich scheme.
I’ve pointed out that Conservatives would be having a field day if they found out that a union member was waxing lyrical about a Labour-backed scheme to increase union membership. Better still, if a car dealer decided to speak up about the benefits of Gordon Brown’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ scheme. But it sounds like their partisan biases are getting in the way here, which is a shame.
This underlines a pro-business bias that I’ve repeatedly confronted amongst Tories. Why should we trust business, especially if they’re in bed with government? Trusting markets would be a good start.