[Mr James Gray in the Chair] — First-time Buyers

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:55 am on 14th March 2012.

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Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South 9:55 am, 14th March 2012

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The new neighbourhood plans in the Localism Act 2011 will help enormously. Having a proper mix of housing stock in an area will build up a sense of community.

My last point concerns how we can develop policies in future. I absolutely agree with the scope and direction of the two policies I have mentioned and the right to buy. As my hon. Friend the Member for York Outer mentioned, there is a link with the social housing sector. Even with additional help, taking out a full mortgage will still be beyond the means of some people. My wish is to see a much more flexible transition from social housing to owner-occupancy. We have had the shared-ownership scheme for some time, which has been successful up to a point, but it is a little limited in its scope. As we move forward, I want a scheme—this is a long-term plan over 20 or 30 years—whereby it will be easier for people who cannot afford a full mortgage at a particular point in their life but might be able to afford, say, a quarter of the equity of the house to take that. I want a flexible scheme so that as people’s circumstances change, they might be able to build up more and more of the equity to reach full owner-occupancy later on. There are many suggestions about how we get there. I just want to put that on the table for the Government to consider and to build on what has been an excellent set of policies to help young people on to the ladder.

I will conclude my remarks now; I know that others wish to contribute. Once again, I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester on securing this excellent debate.