Scottish Labour pledges new-build discounts for first-time buyers

The party has announced a new policy to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder as it warned homeownership has become a distant dream for many.

Scottish Labour pledges new-build discounts for first-time buyers Getty Images

Scottish Labour has unveiled new plans to get first-time buyers on the property ladder by selling a proportion of houses at a discounted price.

The party said Scots are being hit with a “double whammy” of high house prices and high mortgage interest rates.

Unveiling the plans on the first day of the party’s conference in Glasgow, Scottish Labour said it would transform planning rules in Scotland if it was in government.

The proposals would see at least 20% of new affordable homes in each development being offered for a discounted price.

The party said this policy would exist in perpetuity, meaning the next buyer would benefit from the discount too.

Labour said it would also “rip up punitive restrictions” on government home ownership schemes.

Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin said: “A double whammy of soaring house prices and interest rates have pushed mortgages through the roof and priced out thousands of potential first-time buyers.

“There is a housing crisis at the heart of this cost of living crisis, with far too many Scots being priced out of home ownership, forced to deal with sky-high rents and insecure housing. 

“The Tories have pushed home ownership further out of reach with their disastrous economic incompetence, pushing mortgages up by an average of more than £2,000 a year. 

“Meanwhile, the SNP has turned its back on Scots trying to get a foot on the ladder, with house prices in Scotland soaring by an eye-watering £42,072 in just five years. 

“This housing crisis is pushing up house prices and hindering opportunities for growth – Scots cannot keep paying the price for SNP and Tory economic incompetence.”

Griffin said for too many people home ownership has “become a distant dream” but vowed that his party would turn that around.

He said: “Scottish Labour will stand up for first-time buyers by ripping up the punitive rules locking people out of existing support schemes and using planning rules to deliver cheaper homes.

“Scotland needs change and Scottish Labour is ready to deliver it by putting home ownership within reach once again and unlocking the economic benefits of a strong housing sector.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “Central banks around the world are increasing interest rates in an attempt to bear down on inflation – the UK is no different. We have met the pledge to halve inflationand new mortgage rates have declined from their peaks. The plan is working, but we know people are still struggling so we must stick to it.

“In the meantime we are supporting households to the tune of £3,700 each – and we encourage anyone struggling with their mortgages to use our Mortgage Charter, which can make it easier to manage monthly repayments and gives extra protections against repossessions.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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