UK Politics

In quotes: Reaction to government's housing strategy

The government have unveiled its strategy for boosting housebuilding and home ownership in England, including a mortgage indemnity scheme and a fund to kick-start schemes. Here is a summary of reaction to the proposals.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER

When first-time buyers on a good salary cannot get a reasonable mortgage, the whole market grinds to a halt. And that ricochets around the economy, affecting builders, retailers, plumbers - all the people that depend on a housing market that is moving.

If we don't do something like this we are not going to get this vital market moving. We will restart the housing market and get Britain building again

NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, LIB DEM LEADER

This announcement will create more jobs, build more homes and help people to buy a home they can afford. Simple as that. It is incredibly important at this time.

Whether you live in a council house, or social housing, whether you live in rural areas or the city centre, whether you want to rent or whether you want to buy, we will provide hundreds of thousands of homes for families to live in.

ED MILIBAND, LABOUR LEADER

These measures are too little, too late from the man who was responsible for choking off growth in the British economy when he came to power.

Putting back just 10% of the £4 billion he cut from housing investment last year will convince no-one he is serious about getting growth back into the economy.

STEWART BASELEY, HOME BUILDERS FEDERATION

This (the indemnity scheme) is a great deal for people wanting to buy a new home, whether first-time buyers or existing home owners who are unable to trade up.

In recent years many people have been unable to realise their dreams of buying a home because of the huge deposits required by lenders. This scheme will allow people to buy their new home on realistic terms and help in particular hard pressed first time buyers.

It will also be a huge boost to house building. This scheme will see more desperately needed homes being built, create jobs and give the economy the boost it needs.

LEANNE WOOD, PLAID CYMRU

There are serious questions about how David Cameron's scheme is going to work in England. With the taxpayer underwriting the cost, will this mean that Welsh taxpayers are going to be paying to help people afford much higher mortgages in London and the south-east of England?

If government is going to spend money on housing then it makes sense for them to own the assets so that there is a long term social investment and benefit, both for the government and community. This is why Plaid Cymru are calling for a new social housing building programme in Wales.

DAVID PARSONS, LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

It is disappointing that the government has increased councils' housing debt by over £2bn in line with September's inflation level of 5.6% (RPI).

Being saddled with billions of pounds worth of debt is going to severely restrict councils' ability to improve quality housing and invest in new homes to meet future needs. This is vital to help grow the economy.

When this is combined with the government's plans to keep the vast majority of right-to-buy receipts and the restrictions on councils' borrowing ability, the higher debt levels could seriously undermine the future of council housing.

ANDREW CHARALAMBOUS, UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY

UKIP acknowledges this as a viable and necessary strategy to propel new jobs and growth. However, our concerns are in the detail of precisely how this scheme and its parallel infrastructure projects are to be funded.

Even more importantly, the manner in which the taxpayers investment will be protected. As the government appear not to have outlined the detail of these parameters it's hard not to be suspicious about the diversionary nature of this tactic.

CAMPBELL ROBB, SHELTER

We are concerned that schemes to help first-time buyers and council tenants will simply encourage people to overextend themselves, while doing nothing to address the sky-high cost of housing.

This strategy also does almost nothing to help the growing number of families living in insecure private rented housing with hardly any protection from rogue landlords or unexpected rises in rent. Unfortunately these aren't the bold and radical solutions we need to solve a housing crisis that's been decades in the making.

DAVID ORR, NATIONAL HOUSING FEDERATION

The government deserves credit for recognising the huge economic and social value of investing in house-building, but the announcement today is a real missed opportunity.

Today's announcement of an additional 3,250 affordable homes is a drop in the ocean. Ministers need to be bolder and go much further to fix the broken housing market and they can do it in a way that is effectively cost neutral.

ALEX MORTON, POLICY EXCHANGE

The real problem today is not the high mortgage required but the high cost of housing in the first place. You cannot solve the problem of expensive housing just by encouraging greater lending.

The key isn't demand but supply. We've built fewer and fewer homes despite higher immigration and, much more importantly, older people are living for decades in large family homes.

No-one wants to push out people who worked hard for their home, so we need to build more quality family homes where people want to live - in attractive new city suburbs across the UK.

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