Sputnik: First of all, can you tell me what "Help to Buy" is?
Sputnik: And in the report today it said that almost two-thirds of home buyers who used the Help to Buy scheme could have afforded a home without it. Is this a surprising outcome to you?
So the scheme as such isn't necessarily targeted to help the people who are most in need of government support. It generally goes to the kids of wealthy voters. And it's not really that surprising that in a country where the young and the poor are less proportionately likely to vote, that schemes that benefit wealthy families get voted in.
This is a very short term scheme that the government has introduced without proper consideration of its longer-term wider effects on the housing market.
Sputnik: Now you mentioned that this doesn't actually help a lot of people that require assistance to get on the housing market, what steps do you think should be taken to make that a more realistic goal for people in this country?
And what we've seen in recent years is that the ageing population hasn't been matched with any kind of policy to help older people move en masse. There is some talk of reducing the stamp duty for people to trade down. What we need to do is to get ageing boomers out of their large family homes, to free those up for young families. That's the central problem we have in housing.
We also need to make sure that it is not difficult, or troublesome or full of red tape to convert larger family homes into house share accommodation. And the planning process has been severely restricted by many councils to make it harder and harder for landlords to invest in properties to convert them into house share accommodation. So what we've got in the country is a large number of houses which are too large of households and not designed for modern living. In my view, this is a fundamentally misconceived scheme that doesn't solve the problem.