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Government announces plans to expand homeownership

04 April 2005
The government unveiled extensive plans to expand homeownership in Britain on Friday.

The launch of the government's consultation document on housing, Homebuy: expanding the opportunity to own, gave both deputy prime minister John Prescott and chancellor Gordon Brown the opportunity to outline plans to encourage Britons to buy their homes in a Labour third term.

With the aim of doubling the one million new homeowners since 1997 and bringing the rate of homeownership from 70 per cent to 75 per cent, Gordon Brown announced a series of measures.

These included the introduction of a new shared equity offer for new homebuyers, the offer of help for more key workers such as doctors and teachers to acquire homes, and the release of new land for housing development.

The proposals would also create mixed tenure communities in former council house estates, and the chancellor claimed that all these new initiatives would be backed up by maintaining interest rates as low as possible and encouraging public investments to back homeownership.

"This Britain of ambition and aspiration is a Britain where more and more people must and will have the chance to own their own homes," said Mr Brown.

"In the 1950s Harold Macmillan talked of a property owning democracy. And now - in 2005 - it is time to see the future of Britain as a wealth owning democracy where all have a stake in our future - making Britain a beacon for the world."

The Conservatives pointed out that the expansion shared equity scheme would not necessarily increase sole homeownership.

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