Brown pledges help for first time buyers and protection for depositors whose banks fail

15 May 2008 / by Rachel Mason
Gordon Brown last night announced a package of measures that include extra help for first time buyers trying to get on the housing ladder as well as measures to prevent another Northern Rock-style run on a UK bank.

In his draft Queen's speech, the Prime Minister outlined 18 bills including a Banking reform bill intended to protect the public from a future Northern Rock type failure by making it easier for the FSA, Treasury and Bank of England to intervene when a bank gets into difficulty.

The Prime Minster also announced reforms to housing and regeneration, pledging £300 million to help boost the housing and mortgage market and to get more first time buyers on the property ladder as well as £100million to extend the Homebuy initiative which allows people who cannot afford a first home to buy a share in one. Gordon Brown also announced a bill that will give social housing tenants more influence over the management of their own homes and a £200million fund to buy unsold new homes and rent them back to social tenants.

The Prime Minister also plans to encourage savings with his reforms, announcing a Savings gateway bill. The bill pledges a new savings scheme from 2010 for the 8million low paid people in the country whereby the Government would match every pound put into a savings account with anything between 20p and £1.

Other reforms include more rights for councils to use business rates for long-term infrastructure projects, protection for historical buildings and costal areas, new powers for local authorities to intervene in underperforming schools, a constitution for the NHS, more local involvement in policing and new employment rights for parents who wish to work flexible hours.

But Conservative leader David Cameron has condemned Mr Brown's draft Queen's speech, calling it yet another relaunch "to save the Prime Minister's skin", saying the reforms have nothing to do with the long-term needs of the country, and "everything to do" with Mr Brown's short-term political survival.

He also claimed that many of the policies, including the NHS constitution and the extension of the right to request flexible working hours had been copied from the Conservatives.

"I hope when he gets up we'll get a bit of gratitude from the Prime Minister. He can't really say we haven't got any substance when he's taken it all and put it in his Queen's Speech," he said, and urged Brown to call an election, saying that the Government has "run out of road, run out of money, run out of ideas".

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