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Housing minister slams parents’ homebuying help

Advisers have hit out at Labour housing minister John Healey after he suggested the Government should tackle the culture of parents helping their children in the property market.

In a speech to The Fabian Society last week, Healey said the era of aspiring to own a home may be coming to an end.

He said Labour should tackle the culture of parents helping their children to buy property. Healey said homeownership had declined for the first time from 70.9 per cent of all households in 2003 to 68.3 per cent today but this was not “such a bad thing”.

He said the UK needs a new model of shared-ownership arrangements and the ability to sell equity in homes back to the council, housing association or co-operative. He believes the UK will move to a more European model of housing where renting will be a more common option.

Healey said: “Not only is this property piggy bank unsustainable, it is also unfair. Because increasingly, those without the property-funded Bank of Mum and Dad are finding it hard to buy homes of their own.

“As housing wealth is passed from parents to children, inequality is compounded over the generations.

That is something that a party that believes in fairness should tackle and I am pleased that finally the Tories are getting the scrutiny they deserve on their inheritance tax plans – plans that make Britain more unequal as time goes on, increasing the unearned windfalls that the children of wealthy parents get.”

But London & Country Mortgages head of communications David Hollingworth said that Healey’s attitude to parents helping their children in the property market is nonsense and that he had missed the point.

Hollingworth said: “He is ignoring the fact this is happening as a result of the current climate in the housing market. People are getting more help from their parents nowadays because the deposits required are so big. All parents want to do the best for their children and the Government should not be trying to prevent this.”

Anand Associates financial architect James Brooke says: “Life is unfair and unequal. A bigger rental sector would only serve to make buy-to-let landlords richer.”

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