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What our CEO Mark Bogard believes the Chancellor should have talked about

The Family Building Society believes that the Covid-19 crisis allows the Treasury to develop further its leading role in radical economic policy-making.

To help in the process the Society has three items that it recommends the Chancellor puts at the heart of his forthcoming statement on the UK’s economic condition and coming out of lockdown.

Chief Executive Mark Bogard said today:

“The Chancellor and the Treasury is to be congratulated on their response to Covid-19 so far. They have torn up the rule book and acted boldly.

“To borrow a phrase, it’s time to double-down and now bring about radical reforms.

“We have three that could make a real difference.

“First, every adult needs a ‘rainy day savings pot’. This is as important as having an NHS.

No one should be fooled by national figures on savings going up and debts being paid down – there’s been nothing much to spend money on.

“Government needs to work from the bottom up to make sure working people save at least £5000 available for a crisis. Nannying? Yes. Bureaucratic? Yes. Requiring an incentive? Yes. Open to basic rate taxpayers? Yes. Open to higher rate taxpayers? For some, yes, but let’s find better criteria than for receipt of child benefit.

“Second, there is a debt now that older people owe younger people. It is outrageous that students should be asked to pay interest of more than 6% on their educational loans. Young people have borne the brunt of the impact of this disease – not because they are the most likely victims but that in protecting the elderly their aspirations have been shattered. It just isn’t right.

“The loans should from now become interest free. 

“Third, planning. We know already there will be some changes. Here’s another. Let’s stop land banking indefinitely and get houses built. 

“Planning permission should be contingent on a start date within 6 months. There’s also a completion date requirement. Miss them and pay a fee. A large one. Miss the start twice and reapply. Miss completion and there’s a weekly charge. A large one. (By the way, we are also making sure a shoddy finish just to make a date isn’t on. Building regs live.)

“There’s an old saying ‘Never waste a good crisis’. 

“This is that time.“

Written by Steve McDowell

The content of this blog is Steve McDowell’s personal opinion and comment, and views expressed here are his and unless specifically stated, are not those of Family Building Society. The content on this page is not intended to be advice in any circumstances.