Theresa May declares 'personal mission' to fix housing crisis

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/theresa-may-declares-personal-mission-to-fix-housing-crisis-11193361">Theresa May declares 'personal mission' to fix housing crisis</a>
 

Theresa May has declared it her "personal mission" to fix Britain's housing crisis, as she hailed the effects of recent changes to stamp duty.

She (Munich: SOQ.MU - news) has promised to "restore the dream of home ownership", amid concerns at the dwindling number of young property-owners.

But Labour said the Prime Minister's record shows it is "clear Theresa May has no plans to fix the country's housing crisis".

The comments come ahead of a visit by the PM to Berkshire to meet one of the 16,000 people the Government says have benefited from its flagship autumn Budget announcement.

In November, Chancellor Philip Hammond abolished stamp duty on homes up to £300,000 altogether for first-time buyers.

This relief was also made available for the first £300,000 of homes worth up to £500,000, helping people purchasing properties in higher value parts of the country, such as London.

It means a stamp duty cut for 95% of all first-time buyers who pay it and no stamp duty at all for 80% of those buying their first home, with savings of up to £5,000.

Hailing the announcement six weeks on, Mrs May said it had had an "immediate impact" and that one million first-time buyers would benefit in the next five years.

"I have made it my personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership for people up and down the UK," she said.

"We are building a Britain that is fit for the future and our message to the next generation is this - getting on - and climbing up - the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents' past, but a reality for your future."

But Labour's shadow housing minister John Healey said that cutting stamp duty without building more affordable properties could only drive up prices.

"The number of young home-owners is in free-fall," he said.

"But under the Tories the number of new low-cost homes for first-time buyers has halved and not a single one of the 200,000 'starter homes' promised has been built.

"After almost eight years of Conservative failure on housing, homelessness has doubled, home-ownership has fallen to a 30-year low and the number of new social rented homes is at the lowest level since records began.

"It's clear Theresa May has no plan to fix the country's housing crisis."

The financial watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility said after the stamp duty cut was announced that it would only "increase house prices".

And it added the main beneficiaries would be those who already owned a home.