Last week’s column by Jeremy Hunt confirmed to me that our member of parliament and chancellor exists in a parallel universe.
While he is chatting complacently to his mates in the City about how they can boost their profits, every one of us is suffering from his woeful economic policies.
Those who aren’t suffering mortgage misery because of high interest rates are being hit by the fact the banks and building societies are failing to pass on these same rates to savers.
While few people would object to increased international investment in this country, we are reliant on it for three main reasons.
Firstly, because the Tories have sold all our assets, including the public utilities to overseas interests. Secondly, because nobody in their right mind puts their money into savings accounts any longer because the banks consistently refuse to pass on higher interest rates to savers. And, thirdly, because investors, including the pension funds, are jittery about the prospects for the UK economy with the Tories in charge, as the Liz Truss debacle underlined.
Given the mortgage crisis we’re facing right now, our local MP’s priority should be ensuring people don’t lose their homes.
His column should be devoted to explaining how he is regulating the banks to force them to allow people to switch to interest-only arrangements or by extending the repayment period as the Labour Party has very sensibly advocated.
Taking a longer-term perspective, he needs to intervene to prevent developers sitting on parcels of land indefinitely, such as the Woolmead site, in pursuit of greater and greater profits.
The consequences of this market failure is a shortage of housing, which means we’re all forced to borrow more than we can afford, and rents that increase for the same reason.
This is another area where Labour is ahead, offering local authorities powers to compulsorily purchase land without paying a premium to the speculators.
We urgently need reform in the housing market. As it stands our children cannot afford to live in this area, and neither can the lower-paid public sector and care staff that our ageing population increasingly relies on.
It’s time our MP focused on the real problems facing our community.
By David Shurlock
Secretary, Farnham Labour