Labour’s candidate for Harlow slams “Help-To-Buy” scheme

News / Sat 8th Sep 2018 at 11:43am

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.”

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7 Comments for Labour’s candidate for Harlow slams “Help-To-Buy” scheme:

2018-09-09 07:13:24

Another " aren't I lovely " photo-shoot for the momentum belle. Cut your cloth to your means. An old adage that still holds firm to-day. How many people does this lady actually know, who really want to buy one of these properties ? Not sure that Morgan Stanley really made headline news with that comment. Where is the alternative, from the loony left, to support another scheme ? As usual,they haven't got a clue. Anything has it's own value, exactly priced property by the builders, is accordingly fixed. These plans and costs must have been passed by our, Red led council, suffice it to say that they didn't see any problems with the costs of the properties. Laura Mac, as usual, trotting out the mantra, we're good, they're bad. Amazing.

Brett Hawksbee
2018-09-09 15:38:58

'Aren't I lovely?' What does that even mean? Perhaps you are struggling with the idea that Laura is an attractive as well as an intelligent, informed and committed prospective MP? Don't worry 'Micky', politics is not a beauty contest. Politics cares only for the beauty of ideas. But I'm enjoying the drip drip revelation of quite how much you don't understand 'Micky'. You actually appear to think that it is a requirement of planning, to agree a price for the completed properties? Priceless. The alternative in this case, is simply not pouring state money, which was approved on the basis of helping people onto the housing ladder, directly into the coffers of property developers, because that was never the intention. This is to continue is to throw good money after bad.

2018-09-10 06:12:54

More twisted than usual BH. Nobody understands anything except you and your Momentum racists and bullies. It's a simple fact that prices are agreed before work commences, on any project on the planet, even buying a car. You can't be that stupid, not to understand this, you're an alleged business man.

2018-09-10 15:06:41

The Harlow Alliance Party have been accused of always criticising Labour which we deny, so I would point out that in this instance I can clearly say that we agree with what Laura has to say about Help to Buy. It has been shown that this is a very poor way to use public money to try and increase the availability of new homes, the money would be better spent if it was used to help build more Council owned homes to help those at the bottom end of the rented sector rather than the bottom end of the home ownership sector. History shows that private house builders can never overcome a housing shortage, the slack has always had to be taken up by the public sector. Should also bear in mind that the boss of Persimmon, who are building many of these new homes had a salary with bonuses of £95 million (yes million) last year.

Brett Hawksbee
2018-09-10 16:02:31

tenpin - We have seen recently what happens in a cooling housing market. Land banking and little investment, and virtually no building. What this 'help to buy' was always about, was kick-starting the private (housebuilding) market with public money. It is painfully obvious that you cannot interfere in a slice of the housing market. Any disproportionate intervention has an affect on the whole market, for better or worse. If £270k properties are selling at £320k because the cost to the buyer is the same, the local value of the remaining housing stock is affected, which fuels housing price 'bubbles'. It is absolutely NOT about meeting housing need, it is only about satiating the gods of capital. It is ideological, just as building council houses is ideological for socialists. We are, in a small way starting to do just that in Harlow, but against the best efforts of the state to prevent council house building happening. Disingenuous talk about 'fining councils who do not build enough council houses' whilst at the same time denying them a viable funding mechanism. The objective here, is more shrinking of the state. Artificially reducing central funding with spurious fines was a plan to reduce costs not get more homes built. The approach in Harlow, which I do hope you can support, it starting in a small way, to operate something very close to a 'direct labour force ...' HTS will be the parent company for a new council owned house-building company. Local labour, building homes for council rent, with no shareholders dividends to strip money from the town. Returning to 'Help to Buy' as Laura says, it was supposed to help 'first time buyers' ... well that was the claim ... but stats have shown that much of the money available has gone to wealthy house-hunters - and critics claim the scheme has driven up already sky-high property prices. Now ministers are planning to replace it with a new system after the current arrangement expires in 2021, according to the Sunday Telegraph.Even now, the government may introduce a 'temporary extension' to avoid massive disruption for developers, according to the Telegraph. So we hate it, you agree it's a poor use of public money, and the government themselves look set to call a halt. Still, it seems to at least have the support of 'the gift that keeps on giving', elsewhere on this thread!

2018-09-10 16:37:12

Agree with almost all of what you say Brett other than the fact that of course that whilst Harlow Council may well be building houses via HTS at Council house rent levels, they are in the meantime going to get homes built on Council land and charging 'Affordable Rent Levels' on sites, such as at Bushey Croft, Lister House, Elm Hatch and St Andrews Meadow and I guess many more areas to follow. The number of such homes will far outweigh those which HTS will be building. For most of the tenants of these homes, it will mean a lifetime on Housing Benefit, which in the overall scheme of things means that the funding of such homes is also a poor use of public money. Another point of agreement though .... it was reported some years ago that Persimmon owned some 6000 acres of land (an area similar in size to Harlow) on which it could be building but wasn't, as it's shareholders needed to be assured that it had a long term land bank, to keep it in business.

Brett Hawksbee
2018-09-10 19:18:55

Just as you do not support or defend unless you actually agree or disagree, I am not attempting to defend every action of Harlow Council. I would say that although you suggest housing stock would be immediately tied up, which is true, it does still exist on the 'asset' side of the balance sheet. And of course council or housing association housing charges are inevitably lower than private temporary accommodation etc, of any type.

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