Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Council mortgage scheme offering real Helping Hand for first-time buyers in Leeds

Caption: New homeowner John Egginton (second from right) receiving the keys to his new home from Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield flanked by Leeds Building Society’s Head of Corporate Communication Gary Brook and Councillor Mary Harland (Kippax and Methley)

Up to 18 new homeowners in Leeds are in line to secure their first houses after taking part in a mortgage deposit scheme supported by Leeds City Council.

Eleven first-time buyers have already completed deals to buy homes in recent weeks through Leeds Building Society’s ‘Helping Hand’ scheme, with a possible further seven currently being processed.

The scheme, which officially began in Leeds in September last year, sees first-time buyers able to secure a property valued at up to £160,000 with just a five per cent deposit, as the council underwrites the other 20 per cent of the deposit.

The scheme is aimed at those who have the means to be able to make the monthly repayments of a mortgage, but cannot provide the full 25 per cent deposit required by lenders.

The idea behind the scheme is to provide a much-needed boost to the housing market in Leeds as well as associated local industries such as estate agents, removals firms and construction or refurbishment.

The first successful applicant in Leeds was John Egginton, who was able to take the keys to his new home at Valley Ridge in Kippax before Christmas.

After being able to buy his first home through the ‘Helping Hand’ scheme, 30-year-old John Egginton from Garforth said:

“I rented accommodation with a friend in Kippax until about two years ago when my circumstances changed so I moved back home to my parents house to save some money.

“I had intended on moving out immediately to rent a property, however lets were hard to come by, were extremely expensive and low quality. Buying was a pipe dream as first-time buyers had to stump up around 20% deposit at least. Then towards the end of last year I spotted the advert for the 95% mortgage and three months later I had my new house keys in my hand.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“It was wonderful to be able to meet John and see how proud he is to now have his first home. To see the effect something like the Helping Hand scheme can have in terms of making a massive positive difference to someone’s life is fantastic, especially in the context of the 26,500 people currently on the council housing waiting list and young families who are desperate for somewhere to live.

“The current housing market is making it almost impossible for people to be able to get on the first rung of the property ladder, so I am delighted that the council can help first-time buyers like this.

“This scheme is a great example of how new ideas can have a real impact, with the local economy also benefiting through all the related businesses which are part of buying or moving into a house. We look forward to many more people following John’s lead and using the scheme to achieve their dream of owning their first home.”

The council has set aside a total of £2 million for the scheme for an initial five-year period, but an important element is that anyone wishing to make use of it must meet strict criteria set down by the Leeds Building Society to prove they can afford the repayments.

Leeds Building Society’s Head of Corporate Communication Gary Brook said:

“We are all well aware of the difficulties facing first-time buyers, as saving for a large deposit can be a barrier to home ownership.

“At Leeds Building Society we are delighted to be able to work with Leeds City Council to support people in the city achieve their aspiration of owning their own home.”

For more information about the ‘Helping Hand’ scheme call into any local branch of the Leeds Building Society or call 08450 540 994, where qualified mortgage advisors are available seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.

Notes to editors:

Local Authority Mortgage Scheme Key Features

5 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

• 5.49% fixed up to and including 30 November 2017
• Available up to 95% loan to value
• No Higher Lending charge
• Free standard valuation up to £335
• No Completion Fee
• 10% capital repayments allowed each year without incurring an early repayment charge
• £199 Booking Fee
• Maximum loan of £152,000
• Tapered early repayment charges of 5% of the amount redeemed in years 1 and 2, 4% in year 3, 3% in year 4 and 2% in year 5.

The Helping Hand 95% mortgage is available to first-time-buyers only in the Metropolitan boundary of Leeds and includes some areas with a Bradford and Wakefield postcode.

Leeds Building Society has assets of £10bn (as at 30 June 2012) and 67 branches throughout the UK, Gibraltar and Ireland. The Society has operated from the centre of Leeds since 1886.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk


Gary Brook
PR Manager
Leeds Building Society
Telephone: 0113 225 7606
Out of Hours: 07866455111
Email: gbrook@leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk

Careers event to inspire young people into work or education

Picture caption: "Councillor Adam Ogilive joins Kerry Eastwood (far left) and Anthony Sanderson (far right), both 17, as they learn more about the catering industry from Edward Lee, Head Chef at Create."

Young people who are not in work or education have attended a special careers exploration event to meet with potential employers and find out what help is out there to find a job.

The ‘Inspiring Futures’ event was held at Leeds Civic Hall today, Tuesday 5 February and was attended by young people who are currently signed up to the government’s Youth Contract initiative.

The young people aged 16 to 17 will be able to find out more about all the services that have been put in place to help them secure employment including, business visits; short-term work placements and; ongoing mentoring sessions. The event will also allow them to explore different career options and network with potential employers.

The purpose behind the event is to inspire the young people to work but also to open their eyes to the range of possibilities that their skills link to. It will also be a learning opportunity and the young people were encouraged to interact with all the businesses and show that they had learnt something about the workplace and the way their skills and attitudes match up to what employers are looking for.

Local and national businesses also attended, to give the young people the opportunity to network and discover what a working environment is like. The businesses attending were: Leeds Federated Housing; Create Foundation; O2; Premier Inn; Surgical Innovations; British Gas as well as Leeds City Council Apprenticeship team.

The young people will also be able to take part in hands- on activities including a machine which allows surgeons to practice key-hole surgery, setting and decorating a table, making high quality patisserie, budgeting for a works project, testing new technology relating to Health and Safety.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“Helping young people into employment is one of our top priorities. Securing their future and raising their ambitions and aspirations is vital, not just for their success but for the future success of the city.

“Opportunities like this enable more young people to gain a better understanding and experience of work to help them get the skills needed to get them a job and off benefits.

“With the initiatives we already have in place we currently have the lowest NEET figures ever but there is still a long way to go to achieve our ambition to be a NEET free city.”

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive board member responsible for leisure and skills said:
“Doing whatever we can to help young people get the skills needed to get into employment is so important at this time of economic uncertainty - when unemployment is so high and so many young people are struggling to find work or stay in education.

“Our delivery of the Youth Contract and the Apprenticeship Training Agency are having a huge impact on getting young people back in to work, education or training across the city. This work will be supported by the Apprenticeship Hub when it becomes fully established in the near future.”

Notes to editors:
Under the national Youth Contract provision, the Government commissioned a new programme of additional support aimed at 16-17 year olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to re-engage sustainably in education, training or employment with training.

The key objectives of the programme are:-
• to support 16-17 year olds and specifically those in the sustained NEET group and at risk of long-term disengagement to move into education, training or employment with training and to sustain this outcome.
• to increase these young people’s experience and qualifications so that they have the opportunity to continue in education and successfully find work, reducing the proportion who become unemployed in adult life.
• to test methods of local delivery and payment by results, increasing the effectiveness of these models and developing best practice.

Support is targeted to young people who are furthest away from engagement in education and employment and in those localities with the highest NEET rates. The young people get one to one support that enables; engagement and motivation; removal of barriers; and referral and access to opportunities, including support with applications; and provision from a menu of opportunities to match their needs and aspirations. These opportunities include:-
• the current learning / training offer funded by Education Funding Agency
• mentoring support from an employer
• mentoring support from another young person who is in EET
• work placement
• volunteering
• group work with employers to build employability skills

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk