Via the decidedly left-leaning Coalition-baiting blog Red Rag, Grant Shapps continues to provide the comic relief for the grotesque horror that is Eric Pickles. This isn't a throwaway remark, this is a statement on the official government website:
"Building your own home should not be the preserve of the privileged few,I want to break down the barriers that many self-aspiring self-builders often come up with
Barriers that stand in people's way will be torn down - including a complex and bureaucratic planning system, regulatory burdens, and lack of access to land and finance..."
Yes, finance. The figure quoted by the National Self-Build Assocation rather sets alarm bells ringing:
For example, it's perfectly possible to build a three bedroom home for around £150,000
According to Red Rag, you can currently get at best a 75% mortgage for self-build and there isn't a great deal of choice in the market. By definition this requires the lender to take a bit of a punt that you are going to be a competent builder - their money is secured not on a property, after all, but on the promise of a property. That leaves £37k for your non-privileged house-builder to find from somewhere, oh, and the money is paid *in arrears* which means you have to find the rest of the funding up front. So, unless Grant Shapps has some financial Rohypnol that can persuade the shattered, spooked banking sector to invest money up-front in particularly risky property at percentages in the high 90s during a time of increasing unemployment, this isn't going anywhere but the file marked 'Shit Coalition Policies That Seemed A Good Idea At The Time'*.
A final word from designer Wayne Hemingway:
'We've a got a society that enjoys design and enjoys creativity, loves watching Grand Designs...'
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we seem to have a housebuilding policy dreamt up by people who've spent the last ten years watching property porn shows. I'd use the word 'lightweight' but I'm reserving that for the Lib Dem contribution to Coalition education policy.
* SCPTSAGIATT for short. OK, I might have to work on that one.