Just a few days into the 2015 General Election campaign, and we are already in the midst of a confusing barrage of promises, photo-ops, accusations and counter-claims. Even to a hardened political observer, it is genuinely difficult to evaluate the statistics, date the political commitments or even work out who is saying what.
I am, among many things, a member of generation rent. With my A levels burning a hole in my back pocket I took the logical step out of my family home on the outskirts of Liverpool and took up residence at university. I moved into a three-storey halls of residence, which was heated by a gas oil burner that made all of my belongings smell of paraffin. “All your clothes stink”, my mum would say whenever I came home, “even your laptop smells”. I took no notice; all I could smell was freedom.
The Conservatives’ controversial Right to Buy policy will be extended to private renters, according to leaked plans from the Tory manifesto. That means private renters will have the right to buy their own home after living there for five years.
This is a big move from the Conservatives, who have been scrambling around for a vote-winning policy that will help the thwarted first-time buyer, with Help to Buy loans, Rent to Buy, and the latest Help to Buy ISA. But this policy – a reboot of the popular sell-off of council homes in the 80s – actually takes on the landlords.