A “Help to Buy” scheme intended to help get young people on to the housing ladder is to be extended for a year, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The extension should help around 2,000 households to buy a new home.
At her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said the scheme, which was supposed to end next March, would now run until March 2022 in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the virus.
Ms Sturgeon said: “In recent years, this scheme has helped 17,000 people – more than three-quarters of them aged 35 or under – to buy new-build homes. It has also, of course, been a valuable support for house builders. At present, of course, the pandemic means that the scheme is not being used.
“So by confirming that it is being extended, I hope we can ensure that more people – who may otherwise have missed out on this scheme – are able to move into new homes in the future, and also that we are to provide a bit more confidence for the construction sector.”
The scheme focuses on more affordable housing with a maximum purchase price of £200,000. Of the total £55 million budget, £15m is ring-fenced for the purchase of homes sold by smaller developers.
Student hardship fund also brought forward
Ms Sturgeon also announced that £11.4m in discretionary funding to help university students facing hardship over the summer is to be brought forward.
The step has been taken in recognition of the fact the seasonal summer jobs students take to fund their studies have been hit by the coronavirus.
The funding, aimed at those unable to claim benefits while still studying, was not expected to be released until the start of the new academic year.
Colleges will also be able to offer discretionary funds to bridge the timing gap between bursary payments ending in June and Universal Credit payments starting.