Labour slams Govt for abandoning first-time buyers


The Conservative government is under fire from Labour’s shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy, being accused of abandoning first-time buyers and of not having a workable plan to tackle inadequate housing supply.

The Labour Party points to the English Housing Survey, which shows the proportion of homeowners aged 45-54 falling from 74% in 2009/10 to 65.5% in 2021/22, if this trend were to continue the figure would fall to 30% by  2070.

Nandy argues that on the Conservative government’s watch homeownership rates have plummeted while mortgage costs have soared, and now Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has prioritised appeasing his own MPs over building the houses the UK urgently  needs.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Nandy insisted that government initiatives to encourage home ownership, notably help to buy, had failed and only served to send house prices higher. She also criticised the government for jettisoning housebuilding targets.

The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) recently warned the Government that it was falling well below of its target of building 300,000 houses a year.

The NAPB said only around 500 houses were being built per day, when the Government’s target required around 830 a day

According to Nandy, Labour will reform planning to get more homes built and support first-time buyers with a comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme and giving locals first choice on new houses in their area. The party has also pledged to build more social and affordable houses.

A Labour government would also set a target for 70% homeownership – though the timescales are not -as yet- precise.

Housing minister Rachel Maclean has accused Labour of having no plan on housebuilding and just shouting from the side-lines.

Over the last few days UK housebuilders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have released trading statements that while showing weak first quarter numbers, hinted at a pick- up in new home completions in the second half of 2023 and beyond.

Mather and Murray Financial, independent adviser Samuel Mather Holgate believes the cautious optimism expressed in Taylor Wimpey’s trading update also reveals a degree of frustration at a lack of government drive in tackling the housing supply issue.

“The (Taylor Wimpey) CEO is putting a positive spin on things. It could be translated into we have a government that has no urgency to stimulate the housing market and higher rates are increasing our cancellation rates from new buyers. That said, we are a huge company who can weather the storm and by the end of the year we expect normal interest rates and increasing sales”.

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