UK & World News
Help To Buy Extended As Garden City Planned
Help to Buy, the Government's scheme for first-time home buyers, is to be extended until the end of the decade, George Osborne has announced.
Speaking days ahead of the Budget, the Chancellor claimed the policy would help finance the building of 120,000 new homes.
Buyers of newly-built homes can be eligible for a Government-backed loan of up to 20% under the scheme, which is being extended for another four years.
Concerns have already been raised, including by the Business Secretary Vince Cable, the scheme could create another housing bubble.
Meanwhile, to help tackle the housing shortage, a new garden city is to be built in the Thames estuary at Ebbsfleet in Kent.
It will initially provide 15,000 homes and would build on the example of developments such as Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City and Milton Keynes.
The Chancellor, speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, said: "It will be a proper garden city. It is not something this country has attempted for decades.
"That is one of the messages of my Budget. Britain has to up its ambition, Britain has to up its game, Britain has to earn its way in the world.
"Yes, the economy is recovering but that is not enough. We have got to finish the job."
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls told Sky News: "At the moment we're calling on him to reduce the limit on help to buy from 600,000 - we've not had any action on that yet.
"We've asked him to invest in affordable housing, there's nothing on the table yet from him there.
"And this is a promise to get a new town moving eventually, but it's not on the scale we need, or as fast as we need to deal with that cost of living crisis.
"I hope that when it comes to the budget on Wednesday, George Osborne's going to be giving a lot more than he's promised so far."
The Chancellor will deliver his Budget statement this Wednesday.