Help to Buy isn’t helping working people, claims Scottish Labour

Pauline McNeill MSP
Pauline McNeill MSP

Scottish Labour has criticised the Scottish Government’s Help to Buy scheme for only providing a boost to the affluent after new figures revealed that the average income of households participating in the scheme was £46,000.

The scheme involves the Scottish Government taking a 15% stake in a home, with buyers putting up a 5% deposit and covering the rest with by a mortgage.

Official figures released by ministers revealed that 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 said that young people in particular were being priced out of owning a home.

Housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: “In Scotland getting a foot on the housing ladder is harder than ever for young people. 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 percent 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.”

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.”

Share icon
Share this article: