The Government will extend its Forces Help to Buy scheme to 2018, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced today. This will help thousands more to get their boots on the housing ladder.
The move came as Mr. Fallon confirmed that the Government had met the target he set last year doubling the number of Service personnel, whose applications have been approved, to 10,000.
The scheme which was launched in 2014, allows members of the military to borrow up to half their salary up to a cap of £25,000, interest free over ten years so they can buy their first home, extend a current one or move up the property ladder.
It has proved most popular with non-officers: in August, 81 per cent of payments were made to other ranks.
Lance Corporal Baffour Asante is one of the many who have benefitted, describing the process as, ‘really straightforward’.
“I was due a new posting in April,” he said. “My wife was starting to get fed up with the constant moves, and dealing with the stress that comes with relocating. We decided that it was about time that we had a place of our own.
“We are really happy and now have the peace of mind of owning our own home. We have three children under eight and there is no doubt that this purchase will offer our kids the stability they need to be educated in one place and keep their friends.
“For my wife, the stability means she has been able to enrol at university to study nursing. The implications of this purchase have been immense; there is no doubt in my mind that we would not have been able to go on the housing ladder without FHTB.”
This extension to the scheme is part of the Armed Forces Covenant – a commitment to ensure that those who keep us safe are sufficiently supported. It sits alongside the increase to council tax relief to around £600 for a 6-month deployment – 100 per cent of an average council tax bill over that period. And it complements the £1 billion that has been invested in improving accommodation as well as separate improvements announced to the provision of healthcare and mental health support for veterans.