CML urges Government to intervene positively, not negatively, in the housing market

Mr Coogan said that Government intervention in the housing market was inevitable in some form. However, the reasons for intervention were sometimes negative, or questionable. For example, speculation that stamp duty may be increased is driven by the perceived desire to increase revenue from the housing market rather than by a conviction that it would benefit the market.

In advance of the Chancellor's pre-Budget statement on 10 December Mr Coogan reminded the audience of some facts and figures -

* The one-off cost of bringing in mortgage and general insurance regulation is estimated by the FSA at £330 million, followed by an annual cost of £233 million.

* Industry estimates suggest an extra £112-£224 million a year as the cost of bringing in home condition reports as part of the Government's proposed home information packs.

* The number of home-buyers paying stamp duty in 2003 will be half a million higher than it would have been if the Government had uprated the threshold since 1997.

* Over £1 billion of assistance to home-owners through tax credits is not claimed.

Mr Coogan commented:

"It must be tempting for any Government to see the housing market as a cash-cow. But the reality is that home-owners are disadvantaged in terms of subsidy and benefits compared to tenants, despite the fact that home-ownership is no longer the tenure of privilege. If anything, there is an argument to be made that Government should provide more subsidy to home-owners, not less.

"Home-ownership is a hugely efficient tenure to which the vast majority of people aspire. As a spin-off benefit, housing wealth acquired through home-ownership directly helps to reduce social inequality and increase personal responsibility and self-sufficiency."