1 February 2006

Stevenson Calls For More Help For First Time Buyers

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for first-time buyers to be given more support as new figures show the number of first-time buyers in Scotland reached an all-time low in 2005.

Mr Stevenson was commenting on figures from the Bank of Scotland’s First Time Buyers Annual Review, which showed only 29,000 first time buyers in Scotland over the last year, a drop of 58 per cent from 2002.

Mr Stevenson said:

“These figures once again underline the need to create the economic conditions necessary to make Scotland a higher-wage economy and enable many more Scots to afford their first home.

“The fall in the number of first-time buyers by more than half in the space of three years is yet more evidence of the Labour-Liberal partnership's grotesque mismanagement the Scottish economy.

“The cost of buying a house is spiralling out of control, rising far faster than earnings, with the end result being that many thousands of people are simply priced out of the market.

“This is having a particularly severe effect on the economy of rural areas such as North-east Scotland, where people of working age who want to live and work in the area, thereby contributing to the sustainability of rural communities, are unable to do so.

“That is why the SNP has proposed introducing a first-time buyers' grant of £2000 for every first-time buyer to help with buying their first home.

“However, there is also a severe lack of homes to rent at affordable prices, throughout the North-east. As well as putting the Scottish economy on a much more competitive basis and taking action to assist first-time buyers, the Executive must also take steps to boost the number of homes available at affordable rents.”

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