Tunbridge Wells council launches Lend A Hand home scheme

First-time buyers in Tunbridge Wells are being offered help to get on the property ladder in a scheme operated by Lloyds TSB and the borough council.

Under the "Lend A Hand" scheme, house buyers put down a deposit of 5% and the council guarantees a further 20% of the mortgage amount.

The local authority hopes to help 50 residents buy their own properties, worth up to £350,000, through the plan.

The initiative is already operating in a number of areas across the UK.

Kent County Council (KCC) and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have contributed £1m to the project.

James Scholes, of Tunbridge Wells council, said: "The scheme will help a new generation of first-time buyers to take their first steps on the property ladder.

"We will not only help people on to the housing ladder, but we'll also help oil the local economy with businesses actually benefiting from the fact that people are moving into Tunbridge Wells."

The authority said buyers would own the entire property and have access to a range of financial products at a lower rate of interest than is normally available for a 5% deposit.

In the event of repossession the bank will use council funds to make up the shortfall.

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