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A View From The floor

Housing, debt and advice were all on the Liberal Democrats&#39 agenda at the party&#39s annual conference last week.

The party&#39s shadow Chancellor Vincent Cable used his keynote conference address to attack the government, the Conservatives and to some extent the financial sector for fuelling what he called the debt bubble.

“An orgy of debt-financed household spending has generated £1 trillion of debt, most of it secured against a financial bubble in the housing market.

“As a result numerous young families cannot get onto the housing ladder and those that can will have to face negative equity if or when the bubble bursts,” Cable told delegates.

He went on to say that he thought Chancellor Gordon Brown is taking a serious risk by relying solely on the Bank of England&#39s use of interest rates to achieve a soft landing, likening this policy to an overloaded aircraft trying to land at night on a strange airfield and warning of a high chance of disaster.

Meanwhile, the Building Societies Association published its own monthly lending figures last week. These indicated that the market is on the turn with approvals – loans agreed but not yet made – well down by over 12%, suggesting that lending will decline in the autumn.

So, it seems the recent rate rises are starting to have an effect but not that there is a significant crash lurking around the corner.


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