Help To Buy Failing Working Class

Scottish Labour have called for an urgent review of Help to Buy, after FOI requests revealed that the mean household income of those participating in the scheme was almost double the Scottish average.

As of 2017, the average household income in Scotland was £25,000 - but official figures show that the average recipients of Help to Buy assistance have a household income of £45,000. The scheme was already under scrutiny following revelations that Persimmon executives received huge bonuses for essentially suppressing housing construction to maintain profits.

This was revealed on the same day as the Scottish Government announced a two year extension of Help to Buy, with £100 million in extra investment. The scheme offers a 15% discount on the cost of a new house for both existing homeowners and first time buyers.

But it has been widely criticised by economists as merely fuelling the housing bubble by subsidising sky-high house prices, when social housebuilding would actually allow house prices to fall to a reasonable level. Morgan Stanley - hardly left wing outsiders - reported that that the benefits have mostly accrued to already wealthy households, and that it has actually increased overall house prices.

Labour housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill said:

“Help to Buy should be reviewed urgently to establish if it’s fit for purpose.

“We have seen instances in the past where households with incomes of more than £100,000 are getting help with a deposit for a home, which raises questions about whether the right people are benefitting from Help to Buy. The scheme must focus on those with lower incomes who just need a bit of help to own their first home.”

“In Scotland getting a foot on the housing ladder is harder than ever for young people. Too many people on lower incomes are caught in a vicious cycle – they can’t afford a deposit or access social housing so they rent while they save money but the rent is so high they never put the money away.

“That’s why Labour has outlined plans for a Mary Barbour law to regulate the private rented sector.

“In addition to that we would invest in building in the social rented sector to create greater choice for all tenants and help make rents affordable.”

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