ONE of Otley and Yeadon’s city council candidates has branded the Help to Buy scheme ‘a terrible waste of money’.

The initiative, introduced in 2013, is intended to help first-time buyers but has come under fire over suggestions that it has been driving up house prices.

The scheme gives those who can raise a five per cent deposit a government loan of up to 20 per cent of the price of a new-build home.

Housebuilder Persimmon - which is hoping to build some 500 houses east of Otley - currently has a contract to sell Help to Buy homes, and has seen its profit-per-house nearly triple since the scheme began.

Labour’s Otley and Yeadon ward candidate for this May’s Leeds City Council elections, Elliot Nathan, said: “The Help to Buy government loan is a terrible use of taxpayers’ money.

“It has allowed developers to inflate prices and profits.”

He added that the East of Otley plan needed to deliver ‘decent, truly affordable homes for young people’.