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First time buyers pledge welcomed by city council
A NEW first time buyers scheme allowing people to get 95 per cent mortgages is coming into force next week - with Worcester City Council saying it will save the authority cash.
Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed the Government is bringing forward the national ‘Help To Buy’ scheme by three months to this Monday.
The deal means the city council’s previous proposal to spend a second £1m on its in-house ‘Lend a Hand’ project, which offered young people the same deal, is definitely being dropped.
As your Worcester News revealed last month, Lend a Hand has been so successful just £145,000 was left in the pot for new mortgage offers by August.
Councillor Roger Berry, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said the Government’s intervention was a welcome boost for the cash-strapped authority.
It comes after months of delay by the Labour leadership, which has been resisting calls in recent weeks from the opposing Tories to bring forward a fresh £1m to relaunch it.
Coun Berry said: “The Government scheme does exactly what the council’s been pioneering, and I welcome it.
“Now the council’s second £1m won’t be coming forward it also gives us the option to spend the money elsewhere.”
Under Help to Buy, the Government is teaming up with major High Street banks to allow housing buyers to get a property worth up to £600,000 with a five per cent deposit.
It will apply to first time buyers and existing home owners looking to move up the ladder, and is costing the Government £12 billion with Lloyds, RBS, NatWest and Halifax all signed up.
Under the council’s Lend a Hand, ran by just Lloyds, the authority used £1m to offer the same deal to first time buyers by underwriting mortgages.
As your Worcester News revealed last week 30 people have secured offers from it, with the council saying mortgages have “flown off the shelves”.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, Tory group deputy leader, who helped introduce it when the party was in power last year, said: “Labour never wanted to spend the second £1m, they were always lukewarm.
“I don’t know whether that’s because we introduced the idea, or because they don’t like home ownership.
“If the Government’s scheme isn’t as good as the council one, we’ll still be calling for another £1m.”
Coun Berry said the criticism was “rubbish” and insisted the cabinet “wants to encourage home ownership”.
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