The £11.7 billion of taxpayers’ money committed under the Government’s ‘Help to Buy: Equity Loan’ scheme is the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s (MHCLG) largest housing initiative by value. Yet it has done nothing to counter homelessness in Hackney or fix Hackney’s broken housing market.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a progress review report on this scheme, which can be found here. It has found that, in addition to supporting house buyers acquire new properties, it is also supporting the profits of five of the six largest developers in England. Between 36% and 48% of all their property sales in 2018 were underpinned by ‘Help to Buy’ loans and all five of these developers have seen their profits rise since the start of the scheme.
Instead of prioritising the profits of housebuilding firms with a scheme which should really be rebranded as ‘Help to Sell’, the Government should prioritise fixing the broken housing market and getting a grip on the homelessness crisis. The evidence is clear that there is a real affordability problem for Hackney residents trying to find a home in the community they grew up in. We need investment in proper affordable homes.
I will be challenging the Government and investigating this report’s findings in a Public Accounts Committee hearing on the 26th June 2019.