The newly announced "Help to Buy" Isas sound, on the face of it, a great boost for first-time buyers. They will be handed a 25 per cent bonus on money they save towards a deposit up to a maximum of £3,000 if they save £12,000.
George Osborne claimed £15,000 was the figure chosen as it's the average first-time buyer deposit. Obviously this will depend on where you live.
But that figure, once you do the maths, reveals a possible political trick that the Tories pulled on us all, while persuading us that they are trying to help young people on to the housing ladder.
It's like this. The Help to Buy Isas won't be introduced until the autumn and then, while you'll be able to deposit £1,000, the maximum you'll be able to contribute each month will be £200.
So if you start with £1,000 in, say, September, and then stash away £200 a month, it will take you four years and seven months to build up £12,000 – which would qualify for the maximum £3,000 bonus when you buy a house.
That would take you through to April 2020. That's a hugely significant date. Why? Because it will be a month before the next general election. A cynical person might suggest that this week's Budget wasn't just chasing votes for May 2015 but also hopes to achieve the double whammy of cashing in on feelings of goodwill at the next election.
Think about it. Any young people who embrace the new Help to Buy Isas in full will be handed £3,000 by the Government weeks before they'll be asked who they want to vote for in 2020.
Does that mean the whole process is an attempt to buy votes in five years' time? Despite recently watching the US version of the political drama House of Cards, I doubt the Tories are as yet so cynical about electioneering that far ahead of time. Let's just call it a happy coincidence.
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