May's £10bn Help to Buy boost 'a monumental mistake'

Reports that some Tories have raised concerns about the Prime Minister's plan to put a further £10 billion into the controversial Help to Buy scheme feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that Theresa May’s attempt to switch the Conservative Party conference’s attention to domestic policy "ran into early trouble, as some Tories questioned her plan to put a further £10 billion into the Help to Buy scheme, which provides equity loans for people buying newly built homes". The paper says that  former Tory London mayoral candidate Steve Norris called the move a "monumental mistake", amid concerns that it "primarily addressed demand rather than the chronic undersupply of homes". The FT quotes a minister saying: "When we started the scheme there was a problem with lack of demand, but that’s no longer the case. Really we should be focusing on supply instead."

The Times (subscription) reports that shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said that "Labour will oppose the expansion of Heathrow because the airport will never meet the party’s environmental tests". The paper says that "speaking at a fringe event organised by the No 3rd Runway Coalition at last week’s party conference, McDonnell said the third runway is ‘never going to happen’".

The FT reports that the "total amount of rent paid to private landlords in Britain is now more than double the amount of mortgage interest paid to banks by homeowners, as rising house prices push more people into the rental sector". The paper says that, according to new figures published on Monday by property firm Savills, "renters paid about £54 billion to buy-to-let investors across the country over the 12 months to the end of June, as the number of people renting property across the country rises and rents soar".

An opinion piece in the Guardian says that "as housing markets tighten around the world, a gap is growing between those who own property in the city and those who rent it". David Adler, a University of Oxford academic and research partner at campaign group Generation Rent, says that, around the world, "homeowners are fighting hard to hold onto their housing privileges, campaigning to protect the countryside, slow the pace of property development and keep their property taxes to a minimum". He concludes: "They remain one demographic that politicians refuse to cross."

The Telegraph reports that a community land trust set up in Lyme Regis, Dorset, is set to deliver ten new houses on land donated by a local landowner. Community land trusts transfer land ownership to a non-profit trust, enabling housing to be sold or rented at affordable rates because the price does not have to reflect land values, it explains.


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