A FLAGSHIP government project aimed at helping young and low paid people on to the housing ladder has instead boosted the coffers of the big national building firms - and their bosses. What a kick in the teeth for people struggling to scrape together a deposit on a house.

Back in 2013 David Cameron and George Osborne introduced the Help to Buy Scheme funded by public money. The big flaw in their plan was that it boosted demand when the bigger problem facing the housing market was, and still is, on the supply side. It created a surge in demand, ramped up prices, and flattered the results of building firms, making it a cinch for bosses to hit their bonus targets.

About half the homes Persimmon sells are purchased through the Help to Buy scheme.

The upshot is that fortunes have been pocketed by business executives thanks to government subsidies. Well over £100m for Persimmon chief Jeff Fairburn and nearly £600m to share for the company’s 150 best-paid staff; a lovely Christmas bonus for a private business courtesy of the British taxpayer. At the heart of this scandalous situation is the thorny old problem of corporate greed and the closed shop that operates at the top of big business.

Later this week a register naming and shaming companies whose shareholders have protested over fat cat pay is expected to be launched. This is a step in the right direction but Theresa May needs to be bolder, give workers a stronger voice in the boardroom, and end the shareholder monopoly on corporate governance.