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First-time Buyers

Volume 550: debated on Monday 17 September 2012

The Government strongly support home ownership. That is why we are now investing an extra £280 million in the Firstbuy scheme. That will help another 16,500 first-time buyers, and is in addition to our Newbuy programme and the reinvigorated right to buy.

I welcome that response. What advice can the Minister give to my constituents in Stafford who are looking to buy their first home about accessing cheaper finance through the funding for lending scheme?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that we need to increase the availability of funding, and that is what the funding for lending scheme does, in terms of both availability and cost. We all need to encourage people to look again at the mortgage market, both through that scheme and through the Firstbuy scheme and the new home programmes. This is real help for home buyers.

In some areas owner-occupation is declining as a tenure. One factor in that decline is the thousands of working-class people forced to sell their homes to pay for long-term care. When will the Government face up to the fact that if they want to sustain owner-occupation, they will have to do something about paying for long-term care as well?

It is true to say that home ownership fell to a record low under the last Labour Government. That is a record that the Opposition need to bear in mind. The long-term funding question that the hon. Gentleman raises is important. However, the money we are putting in—the £10 billion for new rented homes and the £19.5 billion for affordable homes—is something that, sadly, we did not see when the last Labour Government were in office.

Will Ministers look at the idea of helping first-time buyers by allowing local authorities, particularly in cities including London, to designate areas where people should not be allowed to buy residential housing unless it is for their personal use?

We are keen to ensure that we see new building—in terms of new buy, rented, private and social—and I would be happy to have a further conversation with the right hon. Gentleman to understand the point he has raised in a little more detail.