HUNDREDS of house buyers have been given a helping hand by the Government to buy property worth £130 million under the Help to Buy Scheme.

New figures reveal that 149 loans have been approved for homes in Sussex under the ‘mortgage guarantee scheme’ and a further 539 homeowners under the sister ‘equity loan scheme’ in its first 13 months.

Mid Sussex had the highest number of mortgage guarantees with 18 loans on homes worth £3.8 million while 16 loans on Brighton and Hove homes worth £3.8 million were approved and 17 loans on Arun properties worth £3 million.

Rother had the slowest take-up of the scheme in the county, with just five approved on homes worth a combined £729,000.

The average cost of a home in the mortgage guarantee scheme, where homeowners can buy with just 5% deposit, in Sussex was £204,563 compared to the national average of £150,000.

Meanwhile Horsham had the highest take-up of the ‘equity loan scheme’, where the government loans up to 20% of a property asking price of £600,000 or less, with 129 buyers receiving Government support while in Lewes no one took up the equity scheme.

Councillor Chaun Wilson, Labour’s housing spokeswoman, said: “Whilst we support measures which will enable more people to buy their own home, Help to Buy has had a limited impact, generally fuelling price increases and placing home ownership further out of reach for many in the city. “What’s more, by cutting subsidies to build affordable homes, the Government has further limited housing supply, making it even harder for people to get on the property ladder.”

Councillor Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said successive governments have failed to tackle the “national housing crisis” and controls on private rent levels and a nationwide government-supported programme of affordable house-building were needed.

He added: “Help to Buy has helped a few to buy properties, but it risks pushing housing prices even further beyond many residents’ reach.

“It would be far better to have a more targeted scheme helping council tenants to buy new properties thereby freeing up council housing and stimulating new developments.”

Conservative councillor and housing committee member Mary Mears “warmly welcomed” the scheme.

She said: “It is especially encouraging that Help to Buy appears to be stimulating the supply of new housing, which has been far too low for far too long.”