In my previous letter, I addressed landlords as well as you, but for this one, I feel it is only right if I leave them out of it.
When the scheme was first introduced in the 2013 Budget by former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, it was billed as the scheme “to support a new generation in realising the dream of home ownership.” But the latest figures, as revealed in a BBC News investigation, show how far the scheme is falling short for young Londoners.
The scheme seems to have been working quite well outside of London, with the analysis showing that between its introduction in April 2013 and April 2016, it helped first-time buyers purchase 76,559 houses out of the 255,960 new properties built privately, which represents around 30 percent of the total.
In stark contrast, the numbers from the same period in London are poor. Out of the 41,480 privately built new homes in the capital, only 4,483 were purchased using the help to buy scheme for first-time buyers, which means that it was a help to only 11 percent of buyers.
I understand that London is always going to be expensive to live in: I’m not delusional. However, a fair number of jobs are based in London. It’s a city where there is always something happening, and this creates a need for workers.
But I don’t want to be working in London and living somewhere that is ‘affordable’, i.e. miles away. The additional cost of a season ticket would make it a close call whether to stay in London or go to the outer suburbs. Either way I could easily end up joining the third of the UK workforce which takes home an income classified as ‘inadequate’.
According to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, individuals need to be earning at least £17,300 per annum to get on the rental market OUTSIDE of London and reach the Minimum Income Standard (MIS).
I dread to think of the income needed to make it above that minimum income level in London. To me, at this present moment, it feels nearly impossible.
Of course, wages are on the rise, with a growth of 5.6 percent in the last year, and the introduction of the National Living Wage. But these things aren’t going to help much when the cost of living is rising as well.
New and future graduates need something that is going to work for us, and with these figures, the Help to Buy scheme may work outside of London, but it just isn’t going to help in the capital.
I’m not saying that you should categorically scrap the help to Buy scheme across the UK and create something new. It’s clear to us all that outside of London, it is working well, and has the potential to develop even further.
So please, go back to the drawing board and have a rethink. There must be something you can do to help us get our foot through the door.
Drew, BA Journalism 2017 (we hope – Ed)