James Coney  

Mortgage market isn't broken but house prices are

James Coney

James Coney

The problem is not mortgages, it is housing. We don’t have enough, and the ones we do have are not in the right places for young buyers.

But no one wants to blame house prices or countenance the idea that our obsession with property is to blame, so instead what we get is yet another first-time buyer scheme.

Contribution rates 

Amongst the mountain of data dumped by the Department for Work and Pensions last week was analysis of the growing divide between public and private sector schemes.

It’s startling that as participation in the private sector has risen, average contribution rates have fallen – obviously driven by the levelling down effect of having millions of new savers making much lower contributions than existing savers.

There are reasons to be angry about the bill we have for public sector pensions, but one thing you have to acknowledge is that these roles have far higher contributions. The scandal is how much more nurses and teachers, for example, pay than civil servants.

Rather than constantly bemoaning the bill for these pensions perhaps it is time to think about levelling up.

Let’s start to acknowledge that private sector contributions rates are far too low and take steps to change that.

Govt implementation not up to snuff

Smart meters sound like such a no-brainer: a digital device that would accurately automatically read your gas and electricity consumption allowing you to budget better.

The policy has been a disaster. The messaging from the start was inept and mis-leading, and the whole thing has stumbled over the technological problems of individual suppliers.

There was no universal standard, which left customers baffled.

Governments are hopeless at implementing this kind of thing.

Good luck with the pensions dashboard.

James Coney is money editor of the Times and Sunday Times