POLITICS
28/07/2013 08:19 BST

Vince Cable Warning Over Help-To-Buy, And On Lib Dems Closeness With Tories

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said the Lib Dems plan to fight the next election on their own terms, without the Conservatives, and has criticised the government's scheme to boost home ownership.

In the wide-ranging interview, Cable, who has been notoriously uncomfortable in coalition with the Tories, insisted the Lib Dems would be competing "independently" at the next election.

"We want to compete on our own merits. We are not looking to work with them (Conservatives). We are equidistant between the other two parties."

vince cable hard hat

Vince Cable is concerned Help to Buy will inflate the market

Cable warned the Help to Buy scheme "could inflate the market", days after Chancellor George Osborne fleshed out plans to underwrite £130 billion of mortgage lending with state guarantees under the Help to Buy.

Critics, including former Bank of England governor Lord King, have warned it risks inflating another housing bubble and piling huge housing risk on the Government.

Cable admitted the scheme "could be a problem" if it is not properly designed.

The Liberal Democrat told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I am worried of the danger of getting into another housing bubble.

"The Help to Buy scheme is actually quite complex. We have one part that's already operating, which is providing mortgages against new homes, nobody has questioned that.

"The proposal which hasn't yet been implemented, which is providing a guarantee for a limited range of mortgage, could be a problem. It could inflate the market.

"But, if it's properly designed it could be a useful addition.

"But the real problem, of course, is housing supply. The current numbers of about 100,000 a year are hopelessly inadequate.

"There's a chronic deficit of social housing."

A YouGov poll found the scheme hade wide approval, especially among young people and renters, who may find it difficult to break into the market.

Three quarters of the public (75%) have heard of the government’s Help to Buy housing scheme, and twice as many (49%) say it is “good” as say it is “bad” (24%). Supporters significantly outnumber detractors in all of the three main parties.