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First-time Buyers

Volume 738: debated on Monday 16 October 2023

The Government have a range of schemes available to first-time buyers, including First Homes and shared ownership. The mortgage guarantee scheme helps to increase the supply of 95% loan-to-value mortgages. We have also doubled the threshold at which stamp duty land tax becomes due to £250,000, and expanded first-time buyer relief.

In West Fenham recently, Mr and Mrs Joyce told me how their daughter and prospective son in-law had lived with them for five years while they tried to realise their dream of home ownership. Even after saving a deposit, the failure of the Minister’s Government to build houses meant that they were constantly outbid on the few homes available. Labour has set out plans to get Britain building again. Will the Minister match our ambition, or is living with the in-laws the new Tory dream?

The hon. Lady asks whether we will match Labour’s ambition. I have news for her: from what I picked up from the Labour party conference, it announced the same targets that we are getting on with. I draw her attention to the fact that more than 860,000 households have been helped to purchase a home since spring 2010, through Government-backed schemes including Help to Buy, Right to Buy and First Homes.

I welcome the new “young” Minister to his post. I want to attach myself to tributes to his predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Dehenna Davison), who is sitting next to me.

Last week, a freedom of information request showed that the Lib Dem-Labour controlled Greater Cambridge Partnership, which handles city deal money in my constituency, spent £4.7 million developing plans for a congestion charge that was then dropped because it was opposed basically by everyone. It also spent £16.5 million on the Cambridge South East Transport bus route, also now dropped, and £18 million on new car parks, none of which are actually open. That is a total so far of £160 million on transport projects, and virtually none of them functioning. It is now asking the Government for £200 million more. It is no wonder that in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, people think that the Greater Cambridge Partnership is unelected, unaccountable and a waste of public money. Does the Minister agree that we have to ensure public value for money? Will he meet me to talk about the details?

Order. That question is too long, and I am not quite sure how it fits in with first-time buyers.