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Home Ownership

Volume 537: debated on Monday 5 December 2011

On 21 November we published our housing strategy, which sets out an ambitious programme to support home ownership, including for 100,000 prospective buyers with small deposits and, of course, through the right to buy, which we discussed moments ago.

As my right hon. Friend said earlier, one of the greatest vehicles for social mobility—including on the estate where I grew up—was the opportunity for families to be the first in a generation to own their own homes. In addition to the right to buy, what measures, including accessing finance, are the Government introducing to create greater home ownership?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that the right to buy empowered many families, and it will happen again. However, it is also the case that a whole generation is now locked out by record high house prices—seven times average earnings. To help bridge that gap we are backing an industry-led mortgage indemnity scheme, which will mean people again being able to get 95% mortgages, which operated very well in this country for many decades.

There is a real fear that the Minister will fail to achieve anything like the number of first-time home buyers that he expects to achieve through the right-to-buy programme. Another major problem is the increase in stamp duty that has resulted from his ending of the stamp duty holiday. Will he tell us how many home buyers will lose out for that reason?

As has been said so many times from the Dispatch Box—but it has still not been heard—the country was seriously in danger of going bust. To do nothing about that, to add to the deficit, and to assume that the solution in every instance is to spend more money or introduce an additional programme to enable it to be spent, is not the answer. The answer is to help people to bridge the gap. The introduction of 95% mortgages through the mortgage indemnity scheme is an innovative move that is backed by the industry and the Government, and I believe that it will help up to 100,000 people over a very short period.