As a fall in house prices was confirmed by the British Retail Consortium, Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced that grants are to be made available for middle-class couples to hold more dinner parties during which they talk up property prices.
The Government hopes that by encouraging more dinner parties, idle speculation about property prices will help to ‘talk up’ the market, thus ensuring that pokey 2 bedroom terraces in the more affluent suburbs of major cities – even those in the North – continue to cost in excess of £250,000.
Shapps told reporters, “The more middle-class couples and their friends that to talk up property prices by bragging about how much their house is probably worth, the greater the chances of future growth in the market.”
“We want to hear more people talking about how much value they have added through the installation of bi-fold doors to the garden, or the likely profit made on the flats they bought for Jeremy and Jessica’s uni days.”
The subsidy will take the form of £100 in vouchers, redeemable at branches of Waitrose and M&S, against a limited set of items such as marinated olives, cases of Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2006 and packs of 24 mini goat’s cheese and mushroom frittatas.
Talula Rocquette, 39, of leafy Manchester suburb Chorlton, said, “I think it’s a great idea, but there are one or two significant issues as far as I can see.”
“For example, I can’t use the vouchers to pay £3.50 for a loaf of sourdough at my local independent delicatessen, and £100 will barely cover the cost of the organic chicken and vegetables I need for Delia’s Chicken Basque recipe.”
“It’s almost like the Government secretly wants this programme to fail.”
Mr Shapps continued, “This is a great opportunity for Britain’s middle classes to get involved with David Cameron’s Big Society, by making those on lower incomes stay in a less desirable neighbourhood and get on with regenerating it themselves.”