Growth down, employment down.
Deficit up, meaning borrowing up by £245 billion more than initially planned.
£2.5 billion of spending on – paid for by a fresh public spending squeeze, with details of the new cuts announced in a June government spending review.
Spare homes subsidy for rich people wanting second houses?
This is what the Budget tells us.
It’s par for the course that a Conservative announcement which – on the face of it – is good news, turns out to have a hidden double-meaning that will benefit friends of the party.
We can safely conclude that any benefits for first-time buyers are incidental, then.
And the fear of creating another housing bubble is real.
Perhaps this shows the Conservative-led coalition reaching the point of desperation but it is doubtful.
It seems a desperate move to go back to something that could create similar conditions to those that helped cause the financial crisis of 2008 and plunge us into the longest depression for more than 70 years.
Gideon George Osborne has said the help-to-buy scheme will underwrite £130 billion in loans over three years, aimed at those who want to get on the housing ladder or move to a larger home.
We can only hope that credit checks on these individuals are more stringent than they were on people taking out loans for housing before 2008.
But this gives rise to the claim that the scheme is a second-home subsidy for the very rich – perhaps only the very rich will be able to meet the standards required.
The stated aim of the policy is to reinvigorate the housing market, which has been hit by banks demanding bigger deposits from homebuyers. This may be accurate, but we see nothing in it to stop the very rich taking advantage.
Osborne told the BBC’s Today programme the move would not inflate prices because the Bank of England would be able “to turn off the tap” on the finance after three years if the market was over-heating.
Would this not cause problems for first-time buyers who rely on the loans he is offering?
If so, then this is a scheme to suck money out of people who are slightly more wealthy than the non-waged or low-waged who have suffered the greatest hits so far, but are still not “us”, as the Tories might define that word.
Note that Ed Balls challenged Osborne to confirm funding would be limited to first-time buyers and owner-occupiers and to pledge that second homes and buy-to-let properties would be excluded – but Osborne did not.
Balls also suggested high-earners set to benefit from the cut in the 50p top rate of tax next month could potentially use the “taxpayer guarantee” to buy another property, and contrasted the plan with reductions in housing benefit for those with spare rooms in social housing – “spare room subsidies”, according to the government.
“It now seems his mortgage scheme will help people no matter how high their income to buy a subsidised second home worth up to £600,000,” Balls said.
“From what I can see, the government is basically saying if you have got a spare room in a social home, you will pay the bedroom tax but if you want a spare home and you can afford it, we will help you buy one.”
He added: “That is not just tax cuts for millionaires, it is – dare I say it – a spare homes subsidy.”