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Balls issues another Help to Buy warning

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05/11/2013
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has once more voiced his concerns about the government's housing scheme.
Balls issues another Help to Buy warning

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry Annual (CBI) annual conference, Balls once again expressed concern that Help to Buy and a reliance on housing growth will lead to an unbalanced economic recovery.

Property prices have increased throughout the year with strong gains in some areas since the Help to Buy schemes launched.

Balls said he supported the idea behind the scheme but increasing mortgage availability while failing to build more houses would ultimately hinder people trying to purchase their first home.

“We share your concerns about the Chancellor’s current reliance on boosting housing demand through taxpayer-guaranteed mortgages to secure recovery through the Help to Buy scheme, while failing to take action to boost housing supply,” he said.

“The danger is that by boosting demand while failing to build more homes, the Chancellor will deliver an unbalanced recovery and make homeownership even further out of reach for the aspiring first-time buyers his scheme should be helping.”

Balls repeated his demand for the Bank of England be given a chance to review the scheme immediately and called for further investment in housing stock.

“That is why we continue to agree with the International Monetary Fund in urging the government to bring forward £10bn of infrastructure investment this year and next year, which could be used to build 400,000 affordable homes.

“How can it make sense, for example, for a scheme that should be about helping first-time buyers to offer taxpayer-backed mortgages on homes worth up to £600,000?”

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