A MULTI-million pound government scheme to help military personnel get on the property ladder has been extended.
The Forces Help to Buy scheme has lent more than £280m to more than 18,000 Armed Forces applicants since its introduction in 2014, according to the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Now, Whitehall has revealed the initiative will be extended until the end of 2022.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the move ‘demonstrates the value we put on our armed forces’.
He added: ‘It has already proven very popular amongst the Armed Forces community and by extending it further we will be able to help many more service personnel make those first steps on the property ladder or expand their home to fit their family.’
The scheme allows military personnel to borrow an interest-free deposit of up to half their annual salary, but is only accessible to regular serving personnel.
The loan, which has to be repaid over a 10 year period, is capped at £25,000.
It can be used towards buying a home, building an extension or moving to another property because of work or "as their needs change".
It can also be used to cover other costs including solicitor and estate agents' fees.
Johnny Mercer, minister for defence people and veterans, welcomed news of the extension.
The former army officer said: ‘The extension of the Forces Help to Buy Scheme is fantastic news for all those wanting to take that first step on to the property ladder.
‘The scheme helps to provide stability for our Armed Forces personnel and families, as a thank you for their commitment to their service for this country.’
The scheme was originally due to end December 2019.
In June, a report by the public accounts committee warned too many military personnel live in ‘poor’ housing.
The committee warned substandard housing risks losing experienced and skilled personnel.
The MoD forked out almost £53m to pay for substitute single service accommodation (SSSA) – homes used for troops when there is no space left near their military bases – during 2016/17.