LABOUR’S Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow and the Villages, Laura McAlpine has slammed the Conservative Government’s much vaunted ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme.
Laura said today: “The Help-to-Buy Scheme is appalling value for taxpayers’ money. Large housing development companies are inflating the sale price of their new build properties to reflect the ‘Help-to-Buy’ initiative. Official figures this year revealed the average wage of somebody supported by ‘Help-to-Buy’ is £55,000 – more than double the average wage of £26,000. And shockingly one in five helped by Help-to-Buy aren’t even first-time buyers.
Laura went on to say that “Help-to-Buy’ should be for first time buyers on regular incomes with priority given to people living in the local area. More people from London bought houses in Harlow last year than local residents. There are thousands of people in Harlow who are struggling to find affordable housing and their needs must be met first.”
The ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme has also been pronounced a con by city investment brokers Morgan Stanley. Not usually the type of firm to criticise the government’s flagship housing policy, Morgan Stanley produced a report in which they pointed out that the three largest new build development companies in the UK, Barratt, Taylor Wimpey, and Persimmon (all with developments in Harlow) had simply increased the price of the new build properties for sale to reflect the supposed ‘Help-to-Buy’ initiative. The subsidy therefore goes straight into the pocket of the developers and does not benefit house buyers at all. The Observer has concluded that the only beneficiaries of the ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme have been the developers, who have increased purchase prices by an average of 15 percent.
Persimmon Homes, one of the big three developers, currently has a scheme at Gilden Park near Old Harlow. They claim to offer a discount of £60,000 on properties selling for £330,000 by making use of the ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme, but the experience of people buying similar properties in other areas suggest that such housing is simply over-valued by the amount of the ‘Help-to-Buy’ discount.
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister said: “There are long-run flaws in the Help-to-Buy scheme which Ministers have failed to fix. As it stands, the scheme is poorly targeted and poor value for taxpayers’ money. Help to Buy should be overhauled and tightly targeted on first-time buyers with ordinary incomes, as the Labour Party has long-argued.”