Janine Miller makes some pretty impressive commitments on behalf of the Labour Party.

I'd like to ask her how, exactly, Labour intends to deliver these commitments.

One cannot help but be sceptical of her commitment to build one million new homes, when the last Labour government built fewer social homes in their entire 13-year term than the Thatcher government did in a single year and various independent bodies have pointed out that Labour will struggle to deliver its proposals given the money available to it.

And while I share her concern about Buy To Let landlords, perhaps she needs reminding that Buy To Let didn't exist prior to 1997: prior to that, amateur landlordism was prohibitively expensive.

It was Labour, not the Tories, who are responsible for the explosion of that little piece of parasitism.

I suspect, since house price inflation contributes towards GDP but not the official inflation figure, the resultant bubble was rather convenient for Brown.

The problem with a commitment to affordable housing is a refusal to recognise that it helps the few, not the many: builders still need to make a profit, so they make it on houses that haven't been subsidised.

The problem with "affordable mortgages" is that they rely on the government (ie the taxpayer) to take the risk – once again, those who benefit are the few, not the many.

If Labour are serious about "the many, not the few" then they need to make ALL houses affordable. The way to housing affordability is, counterintuitively, to make housing unaffordable to buyers: because if buyers can't pay, prices will fall.

You could limit mortgage borrowing to three times joint income.

You could levy some sort of sales tax – higher than the current stamp duty – on the seller.

You could introduce an annual property tax of one per cent of house price value instead – this would encourage people to "rightsize" bringing more houses to the market and create an oversupply that would drive down prices.

You could complete what the Tories started – stop Buy to let mortgage holders offsetting interest against income (the owner-occupier equivalent, MIRAS, ended more than 20 years ago.

You could ban them from borrowing money based on the earnings of others.

If you do these things, then prices will fall.

For sure, there will be some short term pain, but it is not beyond the wit of man to introduce measures that keep price falls at a couple of percent per year, which would be enough to avoid anybody falling into negative equity.


St Annes Road, Weymouth