Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has visited a Barratt Homes development in Bedfordshire as figures were announced showing the success of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.
Mr Pickles met staff and residents at Barratt Homes’ Orchid Fields development, in Kempston, as new figures revealed that since it was introduced, Help to Buy has been used to support the sale of around 50,000 homes in England, more than 4,000 of which were new homes built by Barratt Developments.
The figures also show that Bedfordshire is one of the top five areas in the country for home sales using Help to Buy, with around 800 in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire in the first 16 months of the scheme.
Mr Pickles said, “The 2008 housing crash devastated our housing industry, locking thousands of aspiring homeowners out of the market for years, and leading to the loss of a quarter of a million construction jobs.
“The Government’s long-term economic plan, including Help to Buy, has turned that around, leading developers to build more homes and creating thousands of jobs across the country, and helping around 50,000 households to buy with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require – over 80 per cent of which are first-time buyers.”
At Orchid Fields, where more than 100 homes are being built, of which 70 are currently available through Help to Buy and 26 have so far been reserved using the scheme, the Minister met with homebuilder Jason Hart, a Trainee Assistant Site Manager for Barratt Homes who recently bought a new Barratt home himself.
Jason said, “The housing industry is really taking off at the moment, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Having worked at Orchid Fields for a year I’ve been able to see it grow, and I know a lot of people are using Help to Buy to own their own home here.”
Andrew Swindell, Managing Director of Barratt Homes Northampton, who also met with the Minister, said, “Help to Buy is certainly helping people in our area get onto the property ladder, which in turn helps our business grow and allows us to employ and train more dedicated homebuilders like Jason.”
Jason is one of several Barratt Homes employees currently on a bespoke foundation degree in Residential Development & Construction, designed by Barratt Developments, together with Sheffield Hallam University.
A top apprentice employer, Barratt Developments has recently pledged to take on 1,100 graduates, apprentices and trainees nationally over the next three years, in addition to the 600 trainees already recruited since February 2013.