Westminster Life: Peterborough is ahead of the trend

Stewart Jackson MP's Westminster Life column in the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Stewart Jackson MP's Westminster Life column in the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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In the last few months, I have donned my hard hat and high viz jacket to visit a number of new developments in the city, most recently at Midland Road in West Town and the new Roman Fields site at Gunthorpe.

I’ve been greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic response from both developers and new home owners for the Help to Buy scheme, which it might be said rescued a struggling housing market three years ago.

192 people have been able to access an affordable mortgage and get on the housing ladder in my Peterborough constituency and many more in the south of the city where growth is taking place on a bigger scale.

This week’s Centre for Cities report ranks our area 6th in the UK for new homes in the period between 2004 and 2013 – an 11.6% rise with 8,130 new homes.

Across the UK, Help to Buy has helped over 73,000 families – with over 80% of sales going to first-time buyers.

This comes as the Halifax recently revealed that over 325,000 first-time buyers brought their own home in 2014, up 22 per cent on 2013 and the highest number since 2007.

Help to Buy giving developers the confidence they need to build, with housebuilding now at its highest level since 2007.

Despite this, Labour want to cut back and restrict Help to Buy – which would make it harder for people to access an affordable mortgage and get on the housing ladder.

In addition, Ed Miliband has said that the Labour Party would scrap the New Homes Bonus, a scheme that provides money to local authorities.

Since 2011, this scheme has provided £17.9 million to Peterborough City Council and if Labour cut the programme, it may jeopardise the £6.3 million that Peterborough has been allocated for next year.

During the recession, the prospect of buying a first home was nothing more than a pipe dream for many thousands of taxpayers in Britain.

Help to Buy was launched to allow working families on modest incomes to buy their own home and it’s playing a major part in increasing the number of new homes being built.

192 more local families are able to achieve their dream of homeownership and enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with that.

Help to Buy is a key part of a long-term economic plan that is helping people to buy their own home and, together with cutting income tax and freezing fuel duty and Council Tax, backs those who work hard and get on find the financial security they deserve.

Not for the first time, Peterborough is ahead of the trend!

- Peterborough’s MP writes his regular column for the Peterborough Telegraph