SNP’s Help to Buy scheme ‘aids those with £46,000 av­er­age in­come’

The Herald - - POLITICS -

LABOUR has crit­i­cised the SNP Gov­ern­ment’s Help to Buy scheme for let­ting down work­ing peo­ple af­ter it emerged the av­er­age house­hold in­come of those us­ing it was £46,000.

Cit­ing of­fi­cial fig­ures re­leased by min­is­ters, Scot­tish Labour said Help to Buy was help­ing the af­flu­ent and do­ing lit­tle to stop young peo­ple be­ing priced out of a home.

The scheme in­volves the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment tak­ing a 15 per cent stake in a home, with buy­ers putting up a five per cent de­posit and cov­er­ing the rest with by a mort­gage.

Be­tween Septem­ber 2013 and March 2016, the me­dian house­hold in­come of those ben­e­fit­ting ranged from £41,000 and £52,000, and av­er­aged £46,000.

The me­dian wage for a full-time worker in Scot­land is £27,000, al­though many earn less, and not all house­holds have two earn­ers.

Labour hous­ing spokes­woman Pauline McNeill said: “Too many peo­ple on lower in­comes are caught in a vi­cious cy­cle – they can’t af­ford a de­posit so they rent while they save money but the rent is so high they never put the money away.

“The av­er­age earner is even priced out of the SNP Gov­ern­ment’s Help to Buy scheme.

“Ev­ery­one should have the op­por­tu­nity to own their own home but for some peo­ple that just feels like an un­achiev­able dream with the top 15 per cent of earn­ers in Scot­land more likely to ben­e­fit from this scheme than an av­er­age earner.

“The SNP has taken a hous­ing short­age and turned it into a hous­ing cri­sis.”

She said Labour could fix the sys­tem “for ev­ery­one – first time buy­ers, pri­vate renters and so­cial ten­ants” by cre­at­ing bet­ter paid jobs by investing in skills and in­fra­struc­ture.

SNP hous­ing min­is­ter Kevin Ste­wart said: “Our pri­or­ity is help­ing strug­gling first-time buy­ers to pur­chase their own home. Over 10,000 house­holds have ben­e­fited from Help to Buy since its in­tro­duc­tion – two thirds of these were first-time buy­ers and three quar­ters 35 or un­der.

“The ev­i­dence also shows the scheme has had suc­cess in help­ing peo­ple move from so­cial hous­ing and from wait­ing lists into sus­tain­able home own­er­ship.”

Kevin Ste­wart: ‘10,000 house­holds helped.’

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