Help To Buy housing scheme benefits thousands of well-off families

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/help-to-buy-housing-scheme-benefits-thousands-of-well-off-families-10820361">Help To Buy housing scheme benefits thousands of well-off families</a>
 

A government scheme aimed at boosting home ownership is poorly targeted and benefiting families that do not need the help, according to Labour.

The Help To Buy initiative offers loans guaranteed by the state for up to 20% of a property's value - or 40% in London.

The Government offers the equity loan to buyers of newly-built properties worth up to £600,000.

Figures show almost 4,000 households in England earning more than £100,000 per year have bought a home using the programme, out of a total of 112,338 that have used it.

And more than 20,000 households - nearly a fifth - were not first-time buyers, compared to 90,000 who were.

Shadow housing minister John Healey said: "I don't think it's right that taxpayers' help is going to people who are earning over £100,000, many of whom say they could have afforded to buy that without that help."

Speaking on told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he added: "A lot of this help is not even going to people who are buying for the first time.

"So ministers have got to do a great deal more to target this scheme on help for those with ordinary incomes, younger people who really need the help most."

Mr Healey said the scheme should be limited to people getting on the housing ladder and proposed a ban on people with "sky-high incomes" from getting the support - although he did not give a figure.

"This is a scheme that is part of nearly £43 billion set to go from the taxpayer in support of commercial housebuilders over the next few years," he said.

"In many ways, Help To Buy is a blank cheque from ministers which housebuilders are cashing in on."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Since 2010, Government-backed schemes have helped more than 362,000 households to buy a home, with the number of first-time buyers more than doubling since 2009.

The spokesman said the Government is determined to "fix the broken housing market so that homes are more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future - and our recent housing white paper set out the measures to do just that".

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