Builder condemned for making massive gains from taxpayer-funded programme
'Housebuilder Persimmon made a record-breaking £1bn profit last year – equal to more than £66,000 on every one of the homes it sold – with almost half of its house sales made through the taxpayer-funded help-to-buy scheme.
The York-based builder, which sparked widespread public and political outrage for attempting to pay its former chief executive Jeff Fairburn a bonus of £110m, posted pre-tax profits of £1.09bn.
The huge profit – the biggest ever made by a UK housebuilder – means Persimmon banked £66,265 from every one of the 16,449 homes it sold last year. The average selling price was just over £215,000,
The profit from each house it sells has nearly tripled since 2013, when the government introduced the help-to-buy scheme in an attempt to help struggling families buy their first home. Last year the company paid an average of just £31,536 for each plot of land, and spent £112,295 on actually building each home.
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, accused Persimmon of “pinching their profits from the public purse”, adding: “Far from benefiting first time buyers, the major effect of help-to-buy is to drive up demand while having no effect on supply. The result is not help for those who need it, but a boost to the profits of big developers.”
Cable demanded that the government immediately end the help-to-buy scheme and take action to crack down on “outrageous” executive pay. “This greed is coming at the expense of the public purse through the subsidies in help-to-buy,” he said. “Help-to-buy is a scam, enriching developers while forcing buyers off the ladder by pushing up prices.”'
Read more: Outrage as help-to-buy boosts Persimmon profits to £1 billion