Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee
Help to Buy (Scotland) Scheme
Letter from Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, 10 September 2021
Convener of the Local Government Housing & Planning Committee
The Scottish Parliament
10th September 2021
I write to advise that the Scottish Government has taken the decision not to reopen the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme and the First Home Fund next financial year 2022-23.
These schemes were set up to support buyers at times when mortgage lenders were less likely to lend to those with a smaller deposit. Help to Buy, in particular, aimed to support the housebuilding sector and buyers after the financial crash in 2008. However, the steady recovery in the higher loan-to-value mortgage market and the strong housebuilding sector mean that the time is now right for the Scottish Government to step back.
As signalled in Housing to 2040, we want to shift the focus of our support to helping people to renovate, adapt or improve the energy efficiency of their homes. As you will be aware, we recently published a call for evidence on the future of the Energy Efficiency Equity Loan Pilot, which is helping existing home owners to make energy efficiency improvements and repairs to their property.
The Scottish Government’s shared equity schemes are funded using the allocation of Financial Transactions received from HM Treasury. The funding available to the Scottish Government was reduced considerably this year and we anticipate similar cuts for 2022-23.
Our Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) scheme will continue to help first-time buyers on low to moderate incomes access home ownership and our first-time buyer relief for Land and Buildings Transaction Tax means that an estimated eight out of ten first-time buyers will continue to pay no tax at all.
Since 2007 our range of shared equity schemes have assisted around 47,000 households to buy a home.