If George Osborne doesn't kill buy-to-let, Jeremy Corbyn will
I didn’t think there was a politician out there stupid enough to take right-to-buy to its ridiculous logical extreme, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But there is: Jeremy Corbyn.
A couple of months ago I wrote here that the Tories' exceptionally stupid right-to-buy policy was taking us in a really frightening direction. If the government can force private institutions such as housing associations to sell their properties at a discount to anyone who happens to be lucky enough to be living in them, I said, what's stopping it demanding that all private landlords do the same.
To be honest, I didn't really, really think there was a politician out there stupid enough to actually suggest this kind of wealth confiscation as a real policy. Well, it turns out there is. It is Jeremy Corbyn.
If he were ever to be given any actual power he would, he says, extend the right to buy to all tenants renting from large-scale landlords. We obviously can't be sure what large-scale means at this point, and I am all but certain that no sentient electorate would take on Corbyn as leader.
But nonetheless, the fact that there is a politician who is being taken seriously in the UK and who appears to genuinely believe that occupation of an asset gives ownership rights over an asset is genuinely worrying. It is also yet another reason to think very carefully before getting into the buy-to-let market.