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Leader: Shapps wakes up to MMR

It’s taken a while but the housing minister Grant Shapps last week finally broke his silence about the Mortgage Market Review.

Forget the millions of hard-working Brits who would be unable to get on to the housing ladder, what seems to have spurred his interest is the simple act of realising that he himself wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage under the new regulations.

Regardless of his motivation, it was great to hear that Shapps had finally woken up to the fact that there is no point banging on about the age of aspiration if legislation comes in that ensures that for many the dream of owning a property remains a fantasy.

As with everything that the Coalition government says and does, the reduction of the deficit was the reason given by Shapps as to why little had been done to provide an effective boost to the housing market.

Instead he pledged that a report on increasing competition in the banking sector next year would improve access to finance and provide “more interesting, diverse products for mortgage lending”.

Typically, there was little else to this vision of the brave new world of mortgage lending.

In our cover feature on page 18, a round-table discussion on the year ahead, held in association with Abbey for Intermediaries, lack of funding and regulation are seen as the two biggest threats facing the industry. There’s a similar message in the round-table discussion in this month’s Lending Zone on page 23.

As Shapps put it, there will be no “whizz-bang solution” to improving the availability of mortgages. And tying up the market in regulatory knots will be a sure-fire way to ensure that the market stays on its knees for the foreseeable future.

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