September 1, 2010 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson

 

The housing market is recognised as being an early indicator of how well the economy is doing.

 

So it came as bad news on Monday when the latest figures revealed the number of first-time buyers considering entering the property ladder had nose-dived.

 

According to the stats, only 22 per cent of potential purchasers were planning on buying their first property in the next year. That is compared to 31 per cent in the same time last year.

 

Mortgage availability and deposit sizes most concerned would-be buyers.

 

More than half of first-time buyers said mortgage-related issues were among their biggest worries.  And some expressed concern about house price falls.

 

Separate figures from the National Housing Federation suggested that in some parts of England, the average 21-year-old would not be able to buy their home until their middle age if they were relying on just their income. Not good signs for our economy.

 

We need confidence in the economy before we have a healthy economy. It's like a vicious circle.

 

All the signs are that we are on the vicious circle and heading for a double dip recession.

 

So we'd at least hope that the government would put in place some safety nets for those who are going to be hardest hit by any renewed downturn.  But not so.

 

In fact, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have now produced a report which says that the poorest families will bear the brunt of the coalition's cuts.

 

The IFS report concludes: "Once all of the benefit cuts are considered, the tax and benefit changes announced in the emergency budget are clearly regressive as, on average, they hit the poorest households more than those in the upper middle of the income distribution in cash, let alone percentage, terms."

 

These aren't mere statistics.  These are real people right here in Sefton Central.  Real families.  I'm receiving call on a daily basis from people who are asking from help and advice as they face redundancy, reduced benefits, mortgage arrears and even homelessness.

 

Tony Benn recently hit the nail on the head when he said: "The rich get richer and the poor get the blame."

 

Not only that, they are paying the price.

 

And while some may think that it is easy to sit at the sidelines and snipe, it is the role of all MPs, be they in power or in opposition, to scrutinise every action by the government to ensure that what they are doing is fair to all.

 

What we are seeing most certainly is not fair, and all those in Sefton who are either lucky enough to be in public office, or who aspire to it, regardless of political persuasion, should come together to ensure that the best interests of the people of this constituency are served.

 

That's why we have been elected and that's why I will continue to fight hard in parliament and in my constituency for the people who put me there.