Help to Buy Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Conservative, North Swindon 2:30 pm, 8th September 2014

What assessment he has made of the extent of take-up of the Help to Buy scheme in (a) England and (b) Swindon.

Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Minister for Faith, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

More than 50,000 families have already purchased a home in England with the support of Help to Buy since March 2012, helping them achieve their ambition of owning their own home. In Swindon, 430 families have bought through Help to Buy.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Conservative, North Swindon

Government-backed schemes have helped 430 hard-working families in Swindon get on the housing ladder. Will the Secretary of State comment on whether the scheme has been successful in Wales under the Labour Administration there?

Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Minister for Faith, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

It has not been as successful in Wales, because Labour rather botched its introduction of Help to Buy. I was recently in Mid Bedfordshire looking at some houses on a Barratt Homes development, and I was surprised to find that all the brickies came from Wales. The explanation was that because of the decline of house building in Wales, ambitious brickies are coming to England for work.

Photo of Andrew Love Andrew Love Labour, Edmonton

Help to Buy is strengthening demand for housing, but if that is not met by an increase in supply, it will simply end in higher prices. What is the Secretary of State doing to increase supply, which we know is at one of the lowest levels in recorded history?

Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Minister for Faith, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

I think we have made quite a lot of progress. As the hon. Gentleman admits, we inherited the lowest level of house building at any time since the 1920s. The current figures for the amount of house building taking place are more than encouraging—it is quite a success, and I think he will be pleased when the latest figures are released.