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House of Commons Hansard
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First-time Buyers: Help to Buy and Stamp Duty
05 November 2018
Volume 648
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14. What discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effect on first-time buyers of (a) Help to Buy and (b) the reduction in stamp duty. [907447]

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In the interests of providing a good service, Mr Speaker, I hope you will indulge me if I refer to my answer to the hon. Lady from north of the border, the hon. Member for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss). I just want to say that there is no fixed date at the moment for bringing in the affirmative statutory instrument that will make it mandatory to have five-year electrical checks in the private rented centre, but we are searching for a slot as soon as possible in a crowded and exciting legislative timetable.

In answer to Question 14, the Government are working together to help more people on to the housing ladder. Help to Buy equity loans have helped over 169,000 house- holds to March 2018, 81% were to first-time buyers and 121,500 people have benefited from first-time buyers relief from stamp duty since June 2018.

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I am grateful for the cuts in stamp duty for those at the lower end and the help for home ownership, but the higher rates of stamp duty may be having an adverse effect on the housing market. It could cost the Treasury £300 million, so a cut leading to more income, leaving more resources for those at the lower end could be in prospect. Has the Housing Minister raised that with the Treasury?

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My hon. Friend is a political toxophilite of the highest order and has fired his arrows into a subject that is the cause of constant discussion between us and the Treasury. He knows that we all acknowledge the effect that stamp duty can have on the market; that is why he may have seen changes in the Budget to stamp duty on shared ownership, which we hope will benefit first-time buyers. However, I will keep him apprised of conversations as we have them.

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I hope that the hon. Gentleman will have the tribute framed. It would be very disappointing if he did not.

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What assessment has the Minister made of the number of people who have used Help to Buy who are now in negative equity because of leasehold reform? They cannot sell the properties and the price has fallen, so the taxpayer and the individual are hit.

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At this stage, there is no indication from the early returns on Help to Buy that the situation that the right hon. Gentleman raises is occurring. Indeed, early numbers show a higher level of successful redemption than we expected and we hope that that will continue.