Chancellor misses opportunity to help first-time buyers by not removing unfair penalties and outdated rules

We are extremely disappointed that the Chancellor has not taken the opportunity today to announce any support for first-time homebuyers. 

Responding to today’s Budget Statement, Robin Fieth, CEO of the BSA, said:

On First-Time Homebuyers

“We are extremely disappointed that the Chancellor has not taken the opportunity today to announce any support for first-time homebuyers. 

“Small changes to the Help To Buy ISAs (HTB ISA) and Lifetime ISAs (LISA) schemes, to ensure they remain relevant and continue to provide the support they intended to provide when they were launched could have gone some way to help. 

“By failing to announce a reduction in the Lifetime ISA (LISA) withdrawal penalty, savers who open accounts in good faith will continue to be financially penalised if, for whatever reason, they cannot meet the specific requirements of the scheme³. 

“The Chancellor has also missed the opportunity to review the price thresholds on LISAs and HTB ISAs to reflect higher house prices, and to equalised price thresholds on the two schemes4.

“These small changes would have made the savings schemes fairer and more appropriate for today’s new homebuyers.“

On the British Savings Bond

“The BSA founded the annual UK Savings Week, and supports initiatives that encourage individuals to build a savings pot. The Government has today announced the British Savings Bond and the UK ISA towards its aim of encouraging a savings culture across the UK.

“We welcome that NS&I has stated its intention that the British Savings Bonds are to be priced mid-market in relation to similar products, in line with its requirement to balance the interests of savers, taxpayers and the broader financial services sector. 

“NS&I had a considerable impact on the market for a short time last Autumn, and it is important that consumers can be confident that products are available for a sustained period, and that the wider market won’t be destabilised.“


Press contacts:
Tanya Jackson, tanya.jackson@bsa.org.uk Tel: 07881 501098
Katie Wise, katie.wise@bsa.org.uk Tel: 020 7520 5904

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Building Societies Association (BSA) represents all 42 building societies, as well as 7 of the larger credit unions. Building societies serve around 26 million consumers across the UK and have total assets of over £507 billion. Together with their subsidiaries, they have helped over 3.5 million families and individuals to buy a home with mortgages totalling over £375 billion, representing 23% of total mortgage balances outstanding in the UK. They are also helping over 23 million people build their financial resilience, holding over £370 billion of retail savings, accounting for 19% of all cash savings in the UK.  Within this, societies account for 40% of all cash ISA balances.
  2. With all of their headquarters outside London, building societies employ around 51,500 full and part-time staff.  In addition to digital services they operate through approximately 1,300 branches, holding a 28% share of branches across the UK. 
  3. For somebody who has saved £4,000 a year for five years in a LISA, the penalty for using their savings towards buying a house above the £450,000 threshold would be all the Government bonus of £5,000, plus an extra £1,250 of their own savings.
  4. Despite a 30% increase in house prices since LISAs were introduced, the thresholds on both schemes have remained unchanged (Source: ONS House Prices). This is preventing some first-time buyers from buying a home within the price limits.
  5. Find out more about UK Savings Week