Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Row over delay to first-time buyers' initiative in Worcester
A POLITICAL row over whether to relaunch a £1million first-time buyers scheme in Worcester has taken a twist – after Lloyds told the city council to delay it.
The banking giant wants to see if the recent Government proposals to get people on the housing ladder make a difference before sealing another deal.
The stance has been backed by the council’s Labour leadership, which says it “justifies” their decision to delay further investment.
In April last year, Lend A Hand was launched in Worcester – allowing prospective first-time buyers to get a home with a deposit of only five per cent.
The £1 million pot had only £145,000 left as of August after 30 people either completed a sale from the scheme, or were accepted for a mortgage under it.
The Conservatives launched it last year and want another £1 million to be put towards a repeat, but Lloyds now want to hold off.
The Government is starting its own, similar project called Help to Buy in January and Lloyds has agreed to be a lender for it.
A spokesman said: “We’re still awaiting full and final details of the scheme and how it will operate.
“However, given the nature of Help to Buy there will likely be similarities with the Lend a Hand scheme.
“We do not yet know how these similarities will impact on our mortgage sales process. On this basis, we believe it would be prudent to wait until further information on the Help to Buy scheme is published before progressing any new local authority launches for Lend a Hand.”
The council’s Labour leadership has welcomed the statement.
It comes after weeks of fierce attacks from the Conservative group, which is now in opposition. Councillor Roger Berry, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “I am surprised the Conservatives didn’t show more faith in their Government.
“This justifies our decision to defer any second phase of spending, and will allow us to spend more money in other parts of the city.”
Coun Marc Bayliss, Tory group deputy leader, said: “They are desperate for any excuse to avoid putting more money into this, for pure political dogma.
“Half the Labour group never supported it in the first place – I’m very disappointed for the next 35 or 40 people who could have benefited.”
Comments are closed on this article.