Andrew Marr: Government must answer the 'immediate, scary, money questions' to win over voters

19 June 2023, 18:31

Tonight with Andrew Marr
Tonight with Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Emma Soteriou

The government's fate depends on it answering the "immediate, scary, money questions" to win over voters, Andrew Marr has said.

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Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter looked at what would determine the fate of the government as the mortgage crunch worsens for thousands of Brits.

"What's going to define the fate of the government?" Andrew asked.

"What's going to dominate the next election? It's not what's said in the Commons today about a certain former Prime Minister - though that's been more interesting and more impressive than I expected.

"It's not the lessons of the pandemic being debated at the official Covid inquiry, where David Cameron's been giving evidence today - important though that is.

"It's not Rishi Sunak's five pledges, although the progress towards them is painfully slow. No, it's more straightforward than all that. It’s money.

"Have you got enough of it, or have you not? Does the thought of the bills coming in over the next few months keep you up at night?

"And in particular, on the day when the cost of two year fixed rate mortgages rose above 6% for the first time since the aftermath of the Liz Truss mini budget, can you afford the place you're living in?"

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Andrew Marr on the 'immediate, scary money questions' voters have

Andrew continued: "Those are the immediate, scary, money questions - the intake of breath when the email arrives, the nervous crinkle as you open the official-looking envelope - that’s what really shifts votes and reshapes the political landscape.

"I don’t want to exaggerate the situation right now: today a third of people own their homes outright and only 28% of properties in England have mortgages on them... but that's still a heck of a lot of people and many of them are now heading for real trouble.

"So among the things I want to test this evening is what the government - what any government - can do to help mortgage payers. Governments do not control inflation or interest rates.

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"There used to be targeted help for home-buyers. From the early 1980s until 2000 when it was abolished by Gordon Brown, there was something called mortgage interest relief at source or MIRAS.

"Should it be brought back? Or should there be some kind of shooter-term emergency help for people in trouble?

"After all, there was with energy bills and there was the furlough scheme and eat out to help out, during the pandemic. 

"But those were hugely expensive - is there the money to do it again with mortgages?

"And anyway, wouldn't that mean people who are renting, who can't afford to buy the own homes, end up subsidising those who can? Or are there better answers I haven't mentioned?"