Housing and Planning Minister urged to apologise for Help to Buy

Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell, has received a letter from Labour MP David Lammy calling on him to apologise on behalf of the Government for “misleading thousands of people” who signed up for a Help to Buy ISA in the hope it would help them to get on the housing ladder.

Last week, the Government clarified that the 25% bonus will not be paid until a sale is completed and contracts are exchanged. This triggered widespread criticism due to the fact that the money saved cannot be put towards a deposit in order to ‘help’ the buyer.

George Osborne said that Help to Buy ISAs would provide “direct Government support to anyone saving for the deposit on their first home”, and David Lammy has criticised the Government’s website which “explicitly states that the Help to Buy ISA will ‘help with a deposit'”.

In his letter, Lammy says: “Payment of a 25% bonus upon completion of the purchase of a home will only help those lucky enough to be able to already afford a deposit – often thanks to support from family members – and will do nothing whatsoever to help those who are priced out of ever getting on the housing ladder.”

Lammy says he is “absolutely outraged” at the terms of the ISA, which he describes as a “scandal and a disgrace”, adding that young people have “absolutely every right to feel betrayed and conned”.

He concluded: “This is shameful false advertising by the Government and yet again clearly shows how little this Government care about tackling the severe housing crisis.”

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