Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said in response to the Budget:

“This first time buyers’ package is the policy equivalent of sticking a plaster on a broken leg, and will have little impact on our housing crisis. In fact today’s announcement will help less than one per cent of those struggling to get on the housing ladder, leaving them more likely to win a prize on the lottery than be helped through this small-scale scheme.

“It’s a shame the chancellor wasn’t such a champion of housing investment six months ago when he slashed the budget by over 60%. This hastily conceived plan has led to the panic measure we see today, which still amounts to only three per cent of what was cut in October. Rather than piecemeal packages to deliver a good headline, the government should be looking at fundamental reform of our housing market.

“We now have a construction industry on its knees and the lowest levels of house building since the1920s. Millions of people are unable to move freely for work due to housing costs, and the growth of one in five businesses is being constrained by the same reason.”