Wefan Gymraeg

Closure of local councils’ mortgage guarantee schemes leave Welsh first time buyers high and dry

Six Welsh Councils, who are operating mortgage guarantee schemes for first time home buyers, have effectively pulled the plug on any future assistance leaving those trying to get onto the housing ladder high and dry, an Assembly Member has discovered.

Welsh Liberal Democrats Housing Spokesperson, Peter Black submitted a freedom of information request to the six Welsh Councils operating a local scheme following the collapse of the Welsh Government's NewBuy Cymru for first time buyers earlier this year, and in the light of claims that a change in accounting rules by the Wales Audit Office was undermining local arrangements. The response was that all six councils were either winding their schemes up or had already done so.

As a result there will shortly be nowhere in Wales where a first time buyer can get help buying a home despite the fact that in some counties the age by which somebody is able to afford their first home is as late as 35. In contrast the UK Government has had a scheme in place for some time and is currently working towards enhancing their assistance from January next year.

Commenting on his findings, Mr. Black said that the Welsh Government needed to step up to the mark so as to avoid first time buyers being further disadvantaged compared to their English counterparts:

"When the Welsh Government's NewBuy Cymru scheme collapsed, there was at least the comfort that in Ceredigion, Powys, Pembrokeshire, Conwy, Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf local schemes existed that could help out. However, Sector Treasury Services Limited, who have helped to set up and run these Local Authority Mortgage schemes have effectively pulled out because changes in Welsh Audit Office accounting rules make them unsustainable.

"As a result there is little or no assistance at all for first time buyers in Wales. The UK Government is providing English people with several options: NewBuy mortgage support for newly built homes, a Help to Buy mortgage scheme and Help to Buy Equity loans. Yet the Welsh Labour Government still fails to support the citizens of Wales. It is concerning that the Welsh Labour Government are dragging their heels at a time when the people of Wales need their support the most."

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