Emma Reynolds: Scrap Help to Buy to end housing crisis

By Peter Madeley | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

Emma Reynolds has vowed to scrap the Government's controversial Help to Buy scheme as part of radical plans to end the UK's housing crisis.

Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds

The Wolverhampton North East MP said the scheme – which was launched by then Tory Chancellor George Osborne in 2013 – had failed and was 'simply pushing up prices and stoking demand'.

Help to Buy offers loans that are interest-free for five years of up to 20 per cent for a new-build home, with the buyer putting in five per cent towards a deposit on properties valued up to £600,000.

However, Labour MP Ms Reynolds said instead of using the cash to get on the housing ladder, too many people were using it to 'upsize'. "This has made the crisis worse and pushed prices further out of reach," she said.

It is one of five measures she wants the next Labour government to implement, in a plan she claims will solve the problems that are holding back the supply of new homes.

Ms Reynolds' plans are revealed in a new book by Labour moderate MPs that she has co-authored, entitled Spirit of Britain, Purpose of Labour.

She said: "We have not built enough homes for decades and this undersupply has driven house prices out of reach for many young people who want to get on the housing ladder and many families who want to upsize.


"As a result, home ownership is at a 30-year low and one in four young people, aged 20 to 34, are still living with their parents.

"House prices have risen by over 75 per cent since 1995, meaning the average home now costs almost eight times the average annual salary.

"The Tory government is focusing on policies that it deems popular with the electorate, such as Help to Buy and Right to Buy, but these policies exacerbate the problem by stoking demand, pushing up prices further and depriving people of social housing.

"Labour needs a relentless focus on increasing the supply of homes across all tenures with plans to build more council homes and more homes for first time buyers, families who want to upsize and older people who want to downsize."


Other measures put forward by the MP include blocking the Right to Buy scheme until all the homes which have been sold off are replaced, and a shake up of the land market to stop speculation pushing prices up.

She also wants to see a new approach to tackling homelessness, with local authorities given better funding to support people with addiction and mental health problems.

Ms Reynolds said: "Britain’s housing crisis will take some time to correct but it is not beyond the power of government. Future generations depend on it."

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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