Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Letter 151: Manifestos, money trees and Right to Buy

'Dear Dave,
Manifesto week, eugh! Am I glad to see the back of it. Never have so many trees been sacrificed for so little returnDon't you just hate it when politicians make unfunded promises? 
 I've delayed getting in touch as I was holding out for clear idea of where all the money is coming from for your lovely election promises (evidently, the track record just isn't enough to reassure most of us or you'd be polling higher). Worryingly, George failed to enlighten us 15 times chatting to Andrew Marr; you chose to absent yourself from the election debate on tv on Thursday and then gave nothing away yourself in that animated and tetchy interview, again on the Marr Show. So, money tree or projected growth it is. And like my drawing, both appear too sketchy to be taken seriously.
By the way while we are on election promises, why complain that people think you're the Party of the rich if you announce plans that benefit high earners disproportionately? Raising the inheritance tax threshold on family homes to £1,000,000 may please your core voters but won't do anything for your reputation with the rest of us. Nor will extending Right to Buy. Announcing a plan to sell off much needed housing stock at huge discount in the run up to an election looks like the work of a spiv, especially when home ownership has nothing to do with sorting out the UK's chronic housing crisis in the first place . According to the IFS, extending Right to Buy will actually contribute to higher rents, homelessness and a higher Housing Benefit bill. Almost as embarrassing to read as the letter recently leaked (and written in 2013) by your Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, to Tessa Munt. In it he admitted that, "Any increase to the discount available under the (right to buy) would only be possible through upfront central government subsidy, potentially incurring a higher liability for the public purse". You'd have been told that was a risk before including the policy in your manifesto, surely?

Yours etc'

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