Thursday, 9 August 2018

Help to Buy

I have always believed it is important to help young families fulfil the ambition of owning their own home. Over time, owning an asset like your own home gives you some financial security and allows you to set down roots. Twenty years ago it was possible to get relatively affordable mortgages for 95 percent of the value of a property and this meant that people who were working could generally save a five percent deposit. However, after the banking crisis in 2008 things went into reverse. Banks and mortgage companies now expect a much higher deposit than was the case twenty years ago, typically 25 percent which means that it's much harder for young families to purchase their first home. 
A few years ago the government introduced a new "Help to Buy"scheme where government would help to underwrite the deposit in order to ensure normal families who work hard but don't have large incomes or even large savings, could be supported to purchase their first home. The scheme was available on certain new build properties and it has been a success. There are some good examples of he scheme around Camborne and Redruth for instance at the Heartlands site. In total, in Camborne and Redruth, Help to Buy has supported 212 households buying a new build home.
There is no doubt that nationally we have a housing shortage. A combination of population growth and issues like family breakdown means that many families are struggling to find a home that delivers their needs. In Cornwall, the issue is exacerbated in some areas by second home owners. So, as well as helping first time buyers purchase their first home through schemes like Help to Buy, we do also need to build more homes. 
I have always said that we must protect green spaces and that there should be a principle of building on brownfield sites before greenfield sites, especially around our towns. Developments should also be done with communities, not to them and we should challenge developers to take on difficult sites rather than go for easy development options on greenfield sites and urban extensions. In Cornwall we are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We have a beautiful landscape but we are also a narrow peninsula and we must take care to protect the beauty of our countryside. 
In our area we have had some successes with new homes being built on derelict sites that have helped regenerate our urban sites as well as providing new homes. The development at Trevu Road by the train station in Camborne and also at Heartlands are good examples of tastefully done regeneration which celebrates the industrial heritage of our area, tidies up derelict sites and provides new homes. 
We also need to ensure that we have the right infrastructure in place to support new homes. With all of the hot weather and drought conditions we have been experiencing it is easy to forget the threat of floods associated with over-development. Recently DEFRA announced that they would be investing an extra £40million to boost regeneration and better protect homes and businesses against flooding across the UK. Locally in Cornwall many have experienced first-hand the devastation that flooding can cause to homes and properties. As part of the funding boost to flood defences, the Portreath Flood Alleviation Scheme will receive an additional £1.50million funding to help protect homes and businesses in the area. At a time when we are seeing more extreme weather both here in the UK and abroad it is vital that we continue to invest in these vital schemes.

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