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Govt must ditch ‘sound bite’ mortgage policies – CML

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  • 26/04/2013
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Govt must ditch ‘sound bite’ mortgage policies – CML
Council of Mortgage Lenders chairman Nigel Terrington has called on the government to move away from ‘sound bite’ mortgage policies.

Terrington said that the number of different government schemes has clouded the market for consumers.

“For political reasons over recent years we have seen the rise and fall of many housing and mortgage schemes; in fact, more policies – and more years – than many of us will care to remember,” he told an audience in London.

“The Right to Buy scheme, which has been in the news again recently as one of the iconic policy legacies of Margaret Thatcher, has lasted for decades. But who, in the future, will remember the likes of TIS, DIYSO, Home Buy, Open Market Home Buy, Home Buy Direct or First Buy?

“A year after its implementation, we do still have NewBuy – but only just – although people believe that it will quietly fade away once the new guarantee scheme goes live. And the mortgage guarantee scheme is one of the two separate initiatives that are now – not entirely helpfully – single-branded as Help to Buy.”

He added that lenders felt betrayed by the government’s Help to Buy scheme being announced just as the previous NewBuy initiative was starting to gain momentum.

“I ask you, how long did any of Help to Buy’s predecessors last before we found ourselves waving goodbye to one initiative, whilst at the same time welcoming yet another? What certainty does this evidence?

“I wonder whether lenders and the CML would have worked so tirelessly – with so many through-the-night lawyer sessions – as well as the millions of pounds of implementation costs – to get the NewBuy scheme up and running, had we known that Help to Buy would be announced only a year later?”

Terrington then called on the government to start delivering real, long-term polices for the housing and mortgage market and called it to be clearer with its objectives.

“Isn’t it reasonable for lenders to question the longevity and reliability of any schemes brought forward by the government of the day, where the same has not published clear objectives, success measures and provided a landscape of how these will be evaluated?

“Is it going too far to suggest that lenders worry that the sound bite of the announcement – and the speed of the ‘success’ that can be subsequently announced – may actually be bigger and more important drivers than the long-term impact and sustainability of new policies – or the positive effects on the consumers that should be benefitting from these housing policy initiatives?”

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