Two of the unlikeliest political sparring partners locked horns over the weekend – agent Strutt & Parker and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Commenting on Strutt & Parker’s press campaign last week that suggested first time buying couples could save up the average UK deposit of £33,000 over five years by cutting out six things from their lives, Corbyn said “we have a housing crisis that needs to be addressed, to reduce the whole thing to people drinking cappuccino…is frankly ridiculous”
Items of expenditure that Strutt & Parker suggested first time buyers should cut out included on-the-go coffees (£6,248), gym membership (£5,500), mini breaks (£3,500), takeaways (£13,200), playing the lottery (£4,160) and mobile phone upgrades (£770).
Out of kilter
Speaking at a Labour regional meeting in Huntingdon, Cambridge (pictured, right) over the weekend Jeremy Corbyn told the Press Association that “the idea you can conflate the price of sandwiches to the extortions of the housing market is slightly out of kilter here”, he said.
“We have a lot of young people who work really hard, have to rent in the private rented sector, and are spending half, even more, of their take home pay on rent, cannot save to buy, [are] never going to be able to access social housing unless they become incredibly needy.
“So, they have a life ahead of them in which they are going to pay far more for their housing than any previous generation did.”
Corbyn went on to say that the current problems with affordability in the housing market were down to the “unregulated” housing market and that Labour was “committed” to more house building and regulation.
But the Labour party leader’s reference to sandwiches is a little wide of the mark. Reports about the Strutt & Parker research have mentioned sandwiches several times, even though the company’s own material only says ‘takeaways’, by which it meant pizzas and Indians, rather than lunchtime food.