Soaring house prices 'will kill off middle class within 30 years': Britain to be left with 'tiny elite and sprawling proletariat'
- David Boyle said rising house prices will kill off middle class within 30 years
- Claimed home ownership will be beyond means of many of today's children
- Also predicted that by 2045, the average British house will cost £1.2million
- Mr Boyle is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation think-tank
- He made the comments at the Hay literary festival in Wales
By Eleanor Harding
Dire forecast: Rising property prices will kill off the middle classes within 30 years and create a vast 'impoverished' proletariat, David Boyle has warned
Rising property prices will kill off the middle classes within 30 years and create a vast ‘impoverished’ proletariat, a government adviser has warned.
David Boyle, who is also a fellow of the New Economics Foundation think-tank, said home ownership will be beyond the means of many of today’s children, leaving them at the mercy of rising rents.
He predicted that by 2045, the average house price will reach £1.2million, meaning only the very rich will be able to afford a property.
It would leave Britain with a ‘tiny elite and a huge sprawling proletariat’ who have no chance of ‘clawing their way out of a hand-to-mouth existence’, he said.
Speaking at the Hay literary festival in Wales, Mr Boyle said that the time of Britain being a nation of home owners was heading into decline.
He said the traditional middle classes would need three or four jobs just to be able to pay soaring rents.
And while in the past the middle classes have been characterised by their love of culture to foster self-improvement, their new harsh lives will leave little time to pursue these interests.
‘The really scary thing is if in the next 30 years house prices rise as much as they have done in the last 30 years, then the average house in Britain will cost £1.2million,’ he said.
‘We cheerled the rise of property prices not realising that it would destroy if not our own lives, but the lives of our children.
‘The place where this is heading is a strange society with a tiny elite and a long struggling, straggling line which is the rest of us, a new proletariat, who will be in hock to Landlord PLC.
‘We won’t own our own homes, we won’t be able to afford it.
‘It will constrain our dreams and constrain the dreams of our children. It’s a new kind of economy where there are no middle classes at all.
Out of reach: Mr Boyle, who is also a fellow of the New Economics Foundation think-tank, said home ownership will be beyond the means of many of today's children, leaving them at the mercy of rising rents (file picture)
‘Nobody in society will have the kind of space in their lives, space in their homes, space in their careers for any kind of culture at all, because we will have three or four jobs to make ends meet.
‘I think it will impoverish society, make it more intolerant and make it more difficult to live.’
Mr Boyle was a member of the Liberal Democrats’ federal policy committee and was commissioned to write a report into access to public services by the Government, which was published last year.
Criticised: Mr Boyle also attacked Margaret Thatcher for abandoning the Supplementary Special Deposit Scheme, which set banks' mortgage boundaries
Yesterday he attacked Margaret Thatcher for abandoning the Supplementary Special Deposit Scheme, which set boundaries on how much banks could lend for mortgages.
But he admitted that although the mechanism kept house prices low in the 1970s, it was unlikely that today’s buyers would accept having to wait for a long time to get a mortgage.
Instead, he said a radical solution is needed whereby new homes are sold at their initial price for 100 years.
Mr Boyle added that the dissatisfaction of the middle classes was already showing, and had led to a rise in popularity for parties such as Ukip.
‘You saw this huge revolt. I think what happens when you suppress the dreams of the middle classes is you get rather peculiar and very dangerous political movements beginning to emerge,’ he argued.
‘That doesn’t forgive people voting in the neo-fascists but it does somehow explain it.
‘Very unequal societies are very inflationary societies and in the end it drives out those other degrees in society until it becomes very flat and very desperate.
‘The middle classes have to wake up to prevent it happening and to create a political movement that will do it. I don’t think Ukip is it.
‘You could say that it doesn’t matter and that a more classless society would be a good thing.
‘I think if there is no place in the middle where anyone can go to claw their way out of a desperate hand-to-mouth existence then that condemns us all to a precarious existence, because there is no ladder.’