Scottish Budget

‘Opportunity missed’ to help first time home buyers

Lovell home

Housing gap will grow, says Homes for Scotland

Kate Forbes has failed Scotland’s first time buyers and missed an opportunity to encourage a shift towards low carbon homes, says a trade group.

Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay said it is now “essential” that environmental factors become a key determinant for people when choosing a home.

“So it is extremely disappointing that a prime opportunity to encourage such a shift by linking rates of Land & Buildings Transaction Tax and council tax to levels of domestic energy-efficiency has been missed,” she said.

“Also frustrating for the 82% of households in Scotland that would like to own their own home, the Scottish Government abruptly closed its hugely successful Help to Buy main scheme and First Home Fund earlier this year due to a reduction in Financial Transactions received from Westminster. 

“Now this has been increased by £134m but nothing has been allocated to restore these initiatives, leaving the Open Market Shared Equity scheme, the criteria for which excludes many would-be purchasers, as the only means of government assistance. 

“Rather than tackling inequality, I fear this will see the gap between the ‘housing haves’ and the ‘housing have nots’ continuing to grow.

“Whilst the continuing commitment for affordable housing is to be welcomed, it once again appears that the fundamental role that the private sector has to play in terms of both delivery and wider economic recovery has been overlooked.”

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