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Welsh NewBuy scheme axed before launch

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18/04/2013
The Welsh Government has cancelled the launch of the flagship NewBuy Cymru scheme, just six weeks before its planned launch.

Housing Minister Carl Sargeant told the Welsh Assembly that NewBuy Cymru, based on the English NewBuy scheme, would no longer go ahead after the UK government announced the more comprehensive Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme in the Budget.

The Help to Buy programme will be available on properties in Wales when it is launched in January 2014 and Sargeant said this had “pulled the carpet away” from his proposed scheme.

“We are currently working through the detail of the new Help to Buy schemes offered by the UK government and working closely with our stakeholders to consider opportunities for Wales,” he told the assembly.

“The UK government’s new Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme will be available in Wales for all buyers on new build and existing properties up to the value of £600,000 from January 2014.”

NewBuy Cymru had been intended to support the building of 3,000 new homes across Wales. The cancellation of the scheme by the Labour-led government immediately drew criticism from other parties.

Conservative AM Mark Isherwood said that Wales has been left behind by both England’s NewBuy and Scottish counterpart MI New Home which have been active for over a year.

Welsh homebuyers will now have to wait a further eight months before they can buy property with government support.

“While homebuyers in England and Scotland benefit from initiatives launched last year, it is people in Wales who will again pay the price of Labour failure,” Isherwood said.

“Potential homebuyers looking to get on the property ladder deserve far better.”

Sargeant also said that his government was looking at extending the loan equity component of the Help to Buy scheme, currently only available in England, to Wales as well.

“My officials are also exploring the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which is an England only initiative, and options for introducing a similar scheme for the Welsh housing market.”

Last month, figures in Scottish housing called on its own government to extend the equity loan programme to Scotland, claiming that the nation could be left behind England if further action was not taken.

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