A slice of Dundee fruitcake
April Fool’s Day came with the usual spate of joke stories in the press. But the trouble is, it’s getting harder to tell the spoof stories from reality. After you’ve read about an MP’s husband claiming for his furtive TV viewing on her expenses account – not to mention all the other stuff they claim for – you start to believe anything could be true. Tartan sheep (The Times)? Sure. Adverts for a magnetic BMW that latches onto the car in front of you to save you petrol? Tell me more.
But one story I just couldn’t take in was the news that Dundee City Council is planning to offer 100% mortgages to tenants – and some private buyers – who want to buy up council houses in the city, starting from this month. This seems plain daft. After all, wasn’t it careless lending and crazy 100% mortgages that got us into this mess? Hasn’t Gordon Brown himself called for them to be banned? Yet the story’s true. The local authority apparently has £5.5m set aside to fund the scheme, saying that “the initiative is being introduced to stimulate the local housing economy in Dundee, which the current availability of mortgages has not yet achieved.”
But just as the good councillors of Dundee can’t hope to prop up house prices at unrealistic levels forever, nor can the government hope to cure a crisis caused by overborrowing with yet more borrowed money.
• Read the full editor’s letter here: A slice of Dundee fruitcake