The hon. Gentleman makes a reasonable point, and if that were a way in which Mrs Pickles and I could obtain a second home in Frinton, it would indeed be a scandal, but that is certainly not the Government’s intention. However, in our endeavours to ensure that I do not end up with a nice little flat in Frinton, we have to be careful not to rule out people whose marriage has just broken down, or situations in which parents are acting as part-guarantors. By September, we will be able to satisfy the hon. Gentleman on this issue.
We know that the demand is there, but it is also clear that for many individuals in very good jobs the housing ladder simply remains out of reach. Under Labour the number of first-time buyers plummeted to a 30-year low. Labour’s 2005 manifesto promised 1 million more home owners, but home ownership fell by a third of a million in the last Parliament. The industry is clear about what lies at the root of the problem. The British Property Federation says:
“Helping people needing a deposit has for some time been cited as the missing piece of a coherent housing policy”.