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munimula

Letter To Mp - Draft Copy

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Below is a letter that I'm drafting to send to my MP. I just put it straight down and would appreciate any comments on content and format, only constructive comments please. I'm going to send it to my local MP, Vincent Cable of the Lib Dems but may also send it to a Conservative and Labour MP also to get the different views. I will post all replies on this site.

The direction of the letter is very much from an FTB perspective so may look slightly different perspective to all you STRers etc

The point of this letter is to write to you to tell you about something that deeply concerns me at the current time. The issue is that of housing and house prices. I’m a 30 yr old IT Consultant and live in Hampton Wick. I earn over the average salary for the area (****) and yet, to save money I have spent the last two years sharing a 1-bed flat by sleeping in the living room. If I hadn’t done this there wouldn’t be money left over to save a reasonable amount, something I’m aware that I need to do if I am ever to afford my own home. I should point out that I have no other debts and I don’t have a fancy car, all the latest gadgets etc, I live quite frugally. However, after 5 years of hard saving I am still no nearer to buying my first home.

Perhaps I could get a bank to lend 5-6 times my salary but with the risk of interest rates rising higher in the future I would not be happy to take on the risk. As I get older and approach the age of the average first-time-buyer (34) it isn’t a 1-bed flat that I need any longer either. With the cost of buying and selling now very high thanks in part to the cost of stamp duty there is no point buying a 1-bed flat if I want to have a family, I require at least a 2-bed property or preferably a 3-bed property if I am to have 2 children as I would like within the next 5 years. In the current climate of high house prices these properties are simply fantasy.

It appears to me that the yearly increases in house prices over the last 10 years, which should have been unsustainable have opened up a massive divide between the haves and the have-nots. By that I mean those that bought property before 1997-2000 and those that didn’t. My parents generation and older generations (the over 50’s), having paid off their mortgages thanks in part to higher inflation in the past now reputedly own four-fifths of the nations’ wealth. My parents bought a 5-bed family home in Devon in 1981 and had four children. My mother didn’t work and my dad has always earned below average. A 1-bed flat in the same place today would be four times my earnings and I earn considerably above average for that area.

Things are so different today. Those aged over 50 have been able to cash in on this housing bonanza and go on shopping sprees to buy 2nd homes and buy-to-let flats, further pricing out my generation of property-have-nots. My parents house in Devon was bought as a 2nd home, left empty 95% of the year, now my parents current house in Cornwall is about to be bought as a 2nd home. Opposite my grandmother in Devon, the house was bought as a 2nd home, only occupied about 5% of the time.

How can we be living in a civilized society where those that don’t have families living at home own all the family housing and those that do have families or would like families can’t afford the family sized houses? In fact, those that would like to have families are having to put the decision of having children off and will, undoubtedly have fewer children than they might like due to housing restrictions, I’ve read articles recently that say as much. You can’t bring up children in a 1-bed flat. Even when younger people are buying houses, the repayment costs of the super-sized mortgages that they are taking on will be taking up most of their income. This income could otherwise be spent on bringing up children, saving into a pension, benefiting the economy through spending etc. If a couple have to work just to pay a mortgage and living costs how are they ever going to afford to have children?

So why do we have this current situation? The growth in house prices seems to be largely due to the cheap credit that has been available due to low interest rates which has been a global trend. That and an insatiable desire by the British for all things property as displayed by the TV listings, the British have gone property crazy.

Banks have been throwing their lending criteria out of the window, the old three times salary lending rule disappeared along time ago. Now you can get self-certified mortgages where you can basically make up a figure for your salary. And then there is they new phenomenon of buy-to-let. The yields don’t even stack up anymore and yet people keep on buying-to-let with the hopes of future capital gains. How can my generation, the first-time-buyer compete with people getting tax breaks on the interest part of the mortgage if they let the property out.

It seems to me that people generally don’t have much concept of even the basics of economics. I know many examples of people really stretching themselves to buy, taking on mortgages that they won’t be able to afford if interest rates go up, which it looks like they will do. Should banks not have strict lending criteria to prevent people borrowing too much? Perhaps only time will tell but my guess is that only small interest rate increases will make mortgages unaffordable to many buyers who have bought over the last couple of years. People don’t seem to have much grasp of the effect of inflation either, if we now live in a low inflation environment there isn’t going to be the inflation to erode the mortgage debt and feed into increasing salaries. Without higher inflation is there such a thing as a housing ladder? How are people going to move up the housing ladder if inflation isn’t eroding their mortgage debt?

There also seems to be a problem with the planning regulations in this country. The current government is happy to allow large-scale immigration to take place and therefore a net population increase but they don’t appear to be providing the housing needs to match this population increase. There are lots of flats being built (46% of new builds) in inner city areas, more and more people squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces but what about building on some of those fields outside of the cities. Take any train journey out of London in any direction and for nearly all of the journey you will be looking out on countryside and fields. Why should the rights of the minority, again generally the over 50’s be put in front of the rights of the majority. People in built up areas are expected to lose all of their open spaces, many of which improve the quality of living in built up areas immeasurably and yet on the edges of towns the building stops. If governments want increasing populations they should meet the housing demands and flats are not the answer.

Then there is the other problem that the younger generation is now faced with. Current students going through university are expected to average £30K debts in a couple of years time as the effects of tuition fees which start this year are felt. The divide opens further, expected to pay off large debts from the beginning of a career what hope is there of saving enough for housing and pensions?

As I said at the beginning of this letter, the current situation is deeply concerning to me, the debts being taken on, mostly by the young are huge and ultimately can’t be good for the UK economy in the long run. I hear no sensible suggestions coming from the main political parties to address the problem of housing in this country and the imbalance that is being caused in society.

I would be very interested to hear your views on this subject and what the Liberal Democrats policies on housing are and how these problems might be addressed.

Edited by munimula

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Seems a good letter but you don't really lay on the line what you want from him, all he'll no doubt do is parrot party policy.

Spell out in detail what you want him to do.

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Excellent.

Now, if everyone on here sent a copy of that to their MPs - or if it was an open letter. If every MP got half a dozen letters like this a week from, of course, different people (with different wording) - you would at least make them aware of the problem. And keep it on their mind.

What about a petition. Lots of people deliver petitions to Downing Street. Surely you could get 100,000 young (and not so young) people to sign an 'e-petition' - then print it off and deliver it with a fanfare of publicity.

That wouldn't make you smell the fear would it?

Of course for a petition you need a one sentence objective.

We, the undersigned, call on this government to penalise second home ownership because the boom in Buy To Let investment combined with restrictive planning policies has priced a generation out of home ownership and is a major contributor to the current low birth rate. We can't afford homes. We can't afford to have a family.

FANTASTIC! Im sure that will bring on a HPC overnight

I assume you are being a sarky tosser? You sit on your @rse and wait - you'll be waiting a bloody long time. If you have nothing constructive to do or say - why not just SHUT UP?

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Seems a good letter but you don't really lay on the line what you want from him, all he'll no doubt do is parrot party policy.

Spell out in detail what you want him to do.

I'm not sure that I actually want anything from him apart from his views on the problem of high house prices and whether he is aware of the impact they are having on the lives of many and society in general. I'm kind of telling him what I'm experiencing and what I think the problems are and asking for his comment on that. I pointed something out to him regarding vehicle taxation and he took that up after the budget. There was an anomaly that meant large gas-guzzling 4X4 was paying less vehicle excise duty than my 60mpg Astra! That's another subject however...

We, the undersigned, call on this government to penalise second home ownership because the boom in Buy To Let investment combined with restrictive planning policies has priced a generation out of home ownership and is a major contributor to the current low birth rate. We can't afford homes. We can't afford to have a family.

that's what I'm getting at, that's how I've summarised it. 2nd home ownership and BTL, in large part down to wealthier boomers and bad bank lending practice is pricing a generation out of 'suitable' housing and killing off the birth rate. I didn't want to hammer on about immigration but I do see that as a big part of the problem. The government is happy to reside over large scale immigration to drive growth but at the expense of a low birth rate and is piling up future problems i.e. more people now = more people retiring in the future and more people now = higher housing costs and lower birth rate so a vicous cycle, typical short termist government policies that plague politics.

I assume you are being a sarky tosser? You sit on your @rse and wait - you'll be waiting a bloody long time. If you have nothing constructive to do or say - why not just SHUT UP?

I was going to say something but then I remembered that he does this - that's why he's a troll. Best not to feed him!

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When I wrote a similar letter to my MP, he took the opportunity to tell me how he was supporting the building of new 'affordable' flats in my area. These flats have since been built and bought almost exclusively by BTL investors, and rented back to the priced out.

It maybe be worth telling him how new housing is being bought up by existing homeowners whom, by securing their new mortgage on their existing mortgage, have priority amongst the lenders.

Good on you for writing, I urge everyone else to do so too. Our politicians are more out of touch than ever.

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Below is a letter that I'm drafting to send to my MP. I just put it straight down and would appreciate any comments on content and format, only constructive comments please.

Why don't you just go and see him face to face like...? <_<

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When I wrote a similar letter to my MP, he took the opportunity to tell me how he was supporting the building of new 'affordable' flats in my area. These flats have since been built and bought almost exclusively by BTL investors, and rented back to the priced out.

It maybe be worth telling him how new housing is being bought up by existing homeowners whom, by securing their new mortgage on their existing mortgage, have priority amongst the lenders.

do you mean securing a mortgage on their existing house rather than their existing mortgage?

it might be worth including, the deposits raised for buying BTL and 2nd homes by leveraging equity in houses already owned. A boomer with a £400K house can leverage a small mortgage of £40K or 10% on existing property to use as 20% deposit on a BTL flat.

Whilst an FTB needs to save a similar amount as a deposit to be able to afford the mortgage and has to save this amount, @ £250pm this is 14 years of saving.

(rough example)

Why don't you just go and see him face to face like...? <_<

I had been thinking about it.

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If you are writing to your MP feel free to put a link in to our MP pitch page;

http://www.pricedout.org.uk/Home/PolicyMak...13/Default.aspx

BTW if anyone has any suggestions for making this page a hard hitting, MP swaying, work of art let us know.

When I wrote a similar letter to my MP, he took the opportunity to tell me how he was supporting the building of new 'affordable' flats in my area.

Do NOT let MP's away with the "affordable" homes spiel...

Ask them why the other 99% of homes are now so unaffordable, surely that's the real problem.

It's not "affordable homes" that are needed, it's for all homes to become affordable again.

Edited by DoubleBubbleTrouble

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I would try to shorten it by 50% as MPs will probably speed read after the first paragraph.

For maximum affect I would drop the generational stuff as that has nothing to do with Gordon Brown's incompetance as a Chancellor (Generation Y will soon be blaming generation X who blame the BB's who blame the WW2 generation and so forth--been going on for centuries). Parliamanet can't do anything about the generational cycle.

Its because of Brown that HPI and MEW has ruined the economy and outpriced so many people. Lax lending standards, encouraging 2nd homes through tax breaks, immigration, restrictive building practices have all combined to create a disaster. The accomodative IR and free hand given to unscrupulous lenders to entrap unwary buyers into IO mortagages has just added fuel to the coming crash.

IN the meantime FTBs are priced out and the government does not care as they do not need their votes.

I have also written to my MP who has not replied. Basically, I don't think the VIs care about a minority of people who have been left out of Brown's Miracle Economy. When they become a majority who have suffered under the borrow and spend politics THEN its their while to take note.

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I have also written to my MP who has not replied.

I was led to believe MP's are required by law to respond to constituents mails, but I think you have to make them aware that they are your Member of Parliament in the letter.

IN the meantime FTBs are priced out and the government does not care as they do not need their votes.

That was probably true when FTB's were mostly 30 and under. Now they are in their 30's and homeowners are being priced out of moving up to a new home. The time is ripe to lobby.

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Guest Guy_Montag

Below is a letter that I'm drafting to send to my MP. I just put it straight down and would appreciate any comments on content and format, only constructive comments please. I'm going to send it to my local MP, Vincent Cable of the Lib Dems but may also send it to a Conservative and Labour MP also to get the different views. I will post all replies on this site.

The direction of the letter is very much from an FTB perspective so may look slightly different perspective to all you STRers etc

Very good, gets a little ranty in the middle (justifiable perhaps) & watch your sums 5% of the year is 18 days. You may be right, but make sure you are so you can't be accused of exaggeration in something like this.

I look forward to reading the replies.

Excellent.

Now, if everyone on here sent a copy of that to their MPs - or if it was an open letter. If every MP got half a dozen letters like this a week from, of course, different people (with different wording) - you would at least make them aware of the problem. And keep it on their mind.

What about a petition. Lots of people deliver petitions to Downing Street. Surely you could get 100,000 young (and not so young) people to sign an 'e-petition' - then print it off and deliver it with a fanfare of publicity.

That wouldn't make you smell the fear would it?

Of course for a petition you need a one sentence objective.

We, the undersigned, call on this government to penalise second home ownership because the boom in Buy To Let investment combined with restrictive planning policies has priced a generation out of home ownership and is a major contributor to the current low birth rate. We can't afford homes. We can't afford to have a family.

Careful, you'll get this moved off topic by suggesting such things! :ph34r:

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Good letter - i think you should send it to David Cameron as well - he seems to like to latch on to minority issues at the moment.

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The first few sentences don’t sound catchy enough, how about:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the difficulties caused to me and many others in my situation, whom are forced to delay having a family because of high house prices.

Warning I only managed a CSE grade 2 in English. (always get confused with whom and who)

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[name=DoubleBubbleTrouble' date='Jun 14 2006, 04:34 PM' post='399951]

The government needs to act now to return house prices to affordable levels and prevent further damaging house price booms from occurring in the future;

Government needs more aggressive home building targets

FSA should determine mortgage affordability criteria instead of individual lenders

FSA should regulate Buy To Let loans

Government should not subsidise current house price levels

Very good site by the way. Good campaign criteria.

What do you think about doing something like a caravan camp out to highlight your website and the aim?

A go slow drive pulling caravans around the M25 or driving around Westminster pulling caravans with slogans/banners on the caravans along the lines of 'This is all I can afford'

The first few sentences don’t sound catchy enough, how about:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the difficulties caused to me and many others in my situation, whom are forced to delay having a family because of high house prices.

Warning I only managed a CSE grade 2 in English. (always get confused with whom and who)

I agree with what you are saying. The 'opener' is important. However I omitted the first paragrah as it wasn't quite relevant, it was more political and I didn't want it to detract from the main content :)

Edited by munimula

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Very good site by the way. Good campaign criteria.

What do you think about doing something like a caravan camp out to highlight your website and the aim?

A go slow drive pulling caravans around the M25 or driving around Westminster pulling caravans with slogans/banners on the caravans along the lines of 'This is all I can afford'

Thanks, that's a fantastic idea... unfortunately I don't have a caravan and I live in Scotland! Any volunteers?

We really do need a stunt to get a mention in the mainstream press. We're listed on the BBC action network and that pulled quite a lot of people in but nowhere near the level of exposure we need to get the snowball rolling.

Edited by DoubleBubbleTrouble

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Hi

My sisters MP is also Vincent Cable and its worth noting that he is MP in an area which is amongst one of the most expensive in the country. My sister wrote to him about the issue of outsourcing jobs to india, and got the standard reply that its really good for our economy as the people in India will be able to buy british goods (?!) and its that its also great the people in India are getting these jobs as it raising their standard of living!

So bascially dont expect anything from him, he will probably tell you to look in cheaper areas for somewhere to live

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Good letter - i think you should send it to David Cameron as well - he seems to like to latch on to minority issues at the moment.

Yes, I was thinking about that.

I'd like to return to supporting the Tories but I just see David Cameron is to Tories what TB is to Labour - a spinmeister concerned with PR and spin over decent policy changes. All the Tories do is hop on the latest bandwagon - what decent policies have they got.

I actually quite liked the Lib Dem pledge to cut income tax and pass this to cars, air travel and the wealthy

Vince Cable is well in touch with the effects of the miracle economy debt hangover, he wrote this article about it;

Personal view: Forget Prudence. We're drowning in debt, Mr Brown

By Vince Cable (Filed: 07/03/2006)

http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.j.../07/ixcoms.html

Britain's last decade of growth has been driven by consumer spending. There have been tangible benefits in rising living standards and falling unemployment. But there is a nasty sting in the tail: a growing level of household indebtedness which, for many, is not sustainable.

Indeed, retail spending trends suggest growing nervousness, as is borne out again today by another set of weak British Retail Consortium sales figures.

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What about a petition. Lots of people deliver petitions to Downing Street. Surely you could get 100,000 young (and not so young) people to sign an 'e-petition' - then print it off and deliver it with a fanfare of publicity.

We've been thinking about doing exactly that but when we tested the waters on how many people would support it we got very little response.

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Thanks, that's a fantastic idea... unfortunately I don't have a caravan and I live in Scotland! Any volunteers?

We really do need a stunt to get a mention in the mainstream press. We're listed on the BBC action network and that pulled quite a lot of people in but nowhere near the level of exposure we need to get the snowball rolling.

or on a cheaper, easier version everyone could buy a wendy house, one of those that looks like a little house, they probably only cost a few quid these days. Put them up outside Downing Street, sit outside them with banners saying 'this is all I can afford'

I would try to shorten it by 50% as MPs will probably speed read after the first paragraph.

For maximum affect I would drop the generational stuff as that has nothing to do with Gordon Brown's incompetance as a Chancellor (Generation Y will soon be blaming generation X who blame the BB's who blame the WW2 generation and so forth--been going on for centuries). Parliamanet can't do anything about the generational cycle.

Agreed, it is too long and I don't really want it to become a generational letter, it is a housing letter

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Guest Guy_Montag

Thanks, that's a fantastic idea... unfortunately I don't have a caravan and I live in Scotland! Any volunteers?

We really do need a stunt to get a mention in the mainstream press. We're listed on the BBC action network and that pulled quite a lot of people in but nowhere near the level of exposure we need to get the snowball rolling.

I started a thread with the aim on getting people together for a demonstration & working out other ways to get our message across, but it was sent to the graveyard of off-topic.

One of my suggestions was to piquet groups like the CPRE at their AGM, 50 people with plackards there will make a bigger stir than 50 people holding a demo, well anywhere.

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We've been thinking about doing exactly that but when we tested the waters on how many people would support it we got very little response.

The thing is that everything is PR driven these days. To really get the ball rolling for PricedOut you need to do something, you can't rely on word of mouth. You need to pull off a stunt of some kind, a big impact stunt. Like the Fathers for Justice guys, fancy dress became their trade mark.

Perhaps wendy houses could become the PricedOut trade mark

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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