First time buyers to get help from Labour

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Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs David Stewart and Rhoda Grant are backing the party’s first manifesto pledge ahead of May’s vote, to effectively double the help first time buyers currently receive towards saving for a deposit.

Under the plans, a person who currently saves through a first-time buyer ISA with a government top up to the value of £3,000 would be entitled to an additional £3,000 from a Scottish Labour Government to help toward the cost of a deposit to buy a property.

This means that the average couple in the Highlands and Islands each saving £100 a month would be able to save for a £15,000 deposit within three years.

Just 28 per cent of those aged 16-34 in Scotland now own their home with a mortgage – the lowest level since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.

Mr Stewart said: “Everyone deserves a home and a chance, but too many young people are either living at home with their parents or stuck in expensive rents unable to get that first foot on the housing ladder.

“Home ownership is a big ambition for hundreds of thousands of young people but for too many it remains an ambition rather than a reality.”

Mrs Grant added: “The expectation of home ownership, seen as almost a right for previous generations are out of reach for too many people. That has to change.

“Under Scottish Labour’s plan we will effectively double the help towards saving a deposit for first time buyers, investing an additional £3,000 for first time buyers saving as part of our plan.

“We’ll fund our promise by reversing the SNP’s plans to cut air passenger duty. A tax cut costs money, and we think that money would be better spent helping make the aspirations of young people in the Highlands and Islands a reality rather than making a plane ticket cheaper.”

Both MSPs have challenged SNP candidates in the region to make it clear whether they back the Labour plan to give young people a chance to get on in life.

“Our plan will give young people a leg up onto the housing ladder but also encourages them to save over three years. Scottish Labour will use the new powers coming to Scotland to reject austerity and give young people the chance to turn aspirations of home ownership into reality,” added Mrs Grant.