Former director general of the Confederation of British Industry Sir Digby Jones has called on the Government to do more to help first-time buyers.
Speaking at the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ annual conference in London last week, he urged Westminster to reform the stamp duty regime and to build more homes.
Last week’s pre-Budget report only saw the Chancellor give an exemption on stamp duty to those buying new carbon-free homes from next year.
Jones said: “Those coming into the market for the first time must be able to get there. We need a different way of looking at stamp duty. It is not working and it needs to be freed up at the bottom end. No amount of tinkering with interest rates will make sure that nurses and doctors and fire fighters can own their own home.
“The only way to do it is to build more houses. We have the law of supply and demand hitting this market and we have to have a change in policy.
“This Government has talked about reforming plann-ing for a decade and every time it does something local Government does not like it gives in.”
Jones, who was last week appointed the Government’s skills envoy, says the UK mortgage market is the envy of the world. He said: “In the UK mortgage market, we have our own products and thinking outside the box. We are a homeowning environment that is the envy of the world. If people own their home they are more socially responsible and that makes them feel part of a community.
“I do not think products are irresponsible but the market has got to rise to the challenge and show the public and government that it is responsible. I look at leaflets and sometimes I wonder if the target audience understands them.”