Rising house prices 'could destroy middle class'
The UK could be left with a tiny wealth elite and a sprawling proletariat in 30 years as a result of rising property prices. David Boyle, a government adviser and fellow of the New Economics Foundation think tank, said home ownership will be beyond many of today's youngsters and they are unlikely to achieve the same level of affluence as their parents.Speaking at the Hay Festival, Mr Boyle predicted the emergence of a "sprawling proletariat" who have no chance of "clawing their way out of a hand-to-mouth existence".He said the average house price would rise to £1.2 million by 2045, putting homes out of reach of the majority of people as wages fail to keep pace. As a result, people will need to take on three or four jobs just to make ends meet."We cheered the rise of property prices not realising that it would destroy, if not our own lives, but the lives of our children," Mr Boyle said."Nobody in society will have the kind of space in their lives, space in their homes, space in their careers for any kind of culture at all … I think it will impoverish society, make it more intolerant and make it more difficult to live."Mr Boyle singled out Margaret Thatcher for particular criticism, claiming many problems have been caused by the abandonment of the Supplementary Special Deposit Scheme, known as the "corset" which limited how much banks could lend for mortgages.The scheme kept house prices low during the 1970s but he said it is unlikely that buyers today would want to wait a long time before taking out a mortgage.He said the rise of Ukip is evidence of middle class disaffection - when people's dreams are threatened, "dangerous political movements" begin to emerge, he claimed. Mr Boyle said he did not think Ukip have the answers to the current situation. Instead, the middle classes need to "wake up" and form a political movement that will prevent the pessimistic scenario he forecasts from becoming a reality.A society without a middle class would be a bad thing, he argued, because there would be no social ladder and everyone would be condemned to a precarious existence.
--- Ends ---