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Don’t follow dead end Darling to ruin

Alistair Darling’s maiden Budget was another nail in the coffin of his political career. At a time when the economy is in dire need of a shot in the arm, all the chancellor did was fiddle with taxation on booze and cars while pining once again after long-term fixed rate mortgages.

The housing market, the bedrock of the economy, could have benefited from measures to help more first-time buyers onto the property ladder. An increase in the minimum Stamp Duty threshold would have helped thousands of would-be buyers. Predictably enough, Darling did nothing.

With the government effectively becoming a lender having nationalised Northern Rock, it was unsurprising that it was unwilling to do much to encourage more borrowing.

Darling’s career is already on the road to no-where and it seems he’s determined to take the economy down a similar dead end.

But while our political masters may have run out of ideas and abandoned us on the hard shoulder, it’s imperative that we don’t lose our drive.

Paul Gratton’s return to the market to snap up MoneyQuest is a sign that some players are still confident. As Gratton says on page 7 this week, there are still opportunities for brokers.

Northern Wreck is rumoured to be looking to offload £40bn of its £106bn loan book and other lenders are eyeing similar strategies. Whereas once lenders wanted brokers to swell their books, they’re now looking to them to deliver the reverse.

Remortgaging will be the buzz word of the next year and it’s here that brokers can make their mark. There’s been a lot of talk about lenders looking to return to old-fashioned banking, selling mortgage and savings accounts. A similar back-to-basics approach – churning the back book – will offer brokers a lifeline too.

Darling may be on the road to nowhere but brokers can still be in the driver’s seat.


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