Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent this morning at the Great Oldbury development in Stonehouse on his first visit to Gloucestershire since lockdown began to ease.

The PM and Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie met staff at the site to mark the launch of the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme.

The scheme, aimed at homebuyers with low deposit or limited equity allows people to purchase properties with as little as a 5% deposit.

However, the scheme came under scrutiny today when it was revealed that most of the major banks have not yet agreed to lend for purchases of new builds, like those at the Barratt homes site in Stonehouse. Although Mr Johnson said: “Most of the banks are going to back the scheme.”

Mr Johnson said he hoped the scheme would ‘help people up and down the land’ especially those that are missing opportunities to buy because of being ‘forced into renting.’

He said the ability to buy a home has not 'kept in pace with the rise in property prices,’ but that prices reflected ‘the natural strength in our economy.’

Mr Johnson praised Stroud saying: ”This place is beautiful, who wouldn’t want to live here? It was voted the best place to live in the UK.

“People want to live in beautiful homes, in one of the safest places in the world- house prices are going to reflect that.”

He added “I think the economy has been through a terrible time.

“We have tried to look after people throughout the pandemic with furlough and others schemes in place but I think it will take time for the economy to come back.

“We have all the elements of a really strong recovery have been out in place and I do want to see the construction sector playing a big part of that.”

MP Siobhan Baillie added: “I was really pleased the Prime Minister chose to visit Stonehouse to launch the Government’s Mortgage Guarantee Scheme – an initiative that will really help local people onto the property ladder.

“Boris was on great form and he spoke to homeowners and construction workers at the Great Oldbury site.

“It’s important we build homes, but the Prime Minister was also clear that we need to protect the environment and encourage biodiversity too, if we are to make our country greener and more wildlife friendly.”