Dodging bullets

Getting on top of the housing crisis has surely got to be high on the agenda

Dodging bullets

Kevin Paterson, managing director of Source Insurance.

The British public never ceases to amaze me. Against all the predictions and despite the landslide victory for the SNP north of the border, voters returned the Conservatives to power with a slender majority.

I’m no massive fan of the Prime Minister himself, but I do think it was the right result for the country. The former coalition faced a mountain of a task in trying to get the economy it inherited back on track. They got things moving in the right direction – although not without some casualties, and now the Tories have a chance to finish the job.

We should all be thankful that we’re not facing weeks of uncertainty had there been a hung parliament. Regardless of your view of the outcome, the wrangling for power that would have taken place would have had a massively damaging impact on the stock market and the value of the pound – and on the property market itself.

Quite what the priorities for the new Government will be and how high up the list its commitments to the housing market are remains to be seen. Extending the right-to-buy scheme to housing association tenants in England was one of the carrots dangled in front of the electorate but perhaps the pledge with the biggest potential impact was the one to build 200,000 starter homes. Getting on top of the housing crisis has surely got to be high on the agenda.

Its commitment to introduce a law guaranteeing no rise in income tax rates, VAT or national insurance before 2020 and job creation plans could provide consumers with greater peace of mind and encourage them to get on the property ladder or move.

To use a phrase that I’ve heard several times in the market since last Friday, we’ve dodged a bullet and can move forward with confidence ... or have we? Let’s not forget the fly in the ointment. With 56 MPs, the SNP is still a force to be reckoned with and it means that the shadow of an independent Scotland still hangs over the union.

Ms Sturgeon said “something material would have to change” for her to propose another vote on independence. If the country voted to leave Europe in the promised in/out referendum for example, would that be viewed as such a change?

However, let’s put aside the doubts and focus on the message that the Prime Minister delivered outside the door to Number 10 on Friday. He was to give everyone a chance so that no matter where they’re from, they have the opportunity to make the most of their life with the chance of training, a job and hope for the future. Let’s hope the rhetoric is turned into reality.