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