Bank of England given power to supervise Help to Buy plans

GEORGE Osborne has given the Bank of England powers to review his flagship Help to Buy housing scheme, a Bank official confirmed last night, in response to criticism that it could result in the market overheating.

The programme, due to launch in January 2014, will offer hefty state guarantees on homes worth up to £600,000, enabling those with small deposits to buy a house.

The Bank’s financial policy committee (FPC) will now review Help to Buy every September and – if it feels the market is out of control – can recommend either an increase in the fees charged by the government for the service or a reduction in the value of the homes that can be bought as part of the scheme.

Meanwhile, a computer glitch at the central bank yesterday denied staff access to internal documents, including records of bonds bought under the quantitative easing programme.

This forced the Bank to delay the announcement, due yesterday afternoon after a round of bond purchases.