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Sturgeon announces new loan scheme for first-time buyers

The First Minister also told the SNP conference she will introduce indyref2 legislation next month.

Nicola Sturgeon: I am declaring a climate emergency.
Nicola Sturgeon: I am declaring a climate emergency.

The First Minister has unveiled a new £150m loan scheme to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

Nicola Sturgeon said the system would allow prospective first-time buyers to apply for government loans of up to £25,000, provided they can find at least 5% of the value of the house.

She said: "If buyers can find just 5% of the value of their new house from their own funds, we will do the rest.

"Starting later this year and running until the end of this parliament, we will offer first-time buyers loans of up to £25,000 to fund or top up their deposit."

Sturgeon was addressing delegates at the SNP conference in Edinburgh after announcing her intention to hold a second independence referendum in the next two years earlier this week.

Ms Sturgeon revealed in her keynote speech on Sunday that she would introduce legislation next month laying the groundwork for a new independence vote.

The First Minister stated: "It is time for Scotland to become independent.

"The last three years have shown, beyond any doubt, that for Scotland the Westminster system is broken."

With Brexit looming, she added: "If the UK can't be persuaded to change course, Scotland must.

"We must have the choice of a better future.

"Scotland must have the choice of an independent future."

She announced a leaflet on the economics of independence would be sent to every home in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: "If we can now show what is possible with the economic powers of independence, we will win a referendum.

"We have set out an ambitious, optimistic and realistic way forward for these new times.

"And so I can announce today that we will now launch the biggest campaign on the economics of independence in our party's history.

"From this summer, we aim to get information on Scotland's potential into the hands of every voter.

"Our plan is to distribute 'An independent Scotland - a household guide' to every home across the country - all 2.4 million of them."

However, the Scottish Government accepts it would require a Section 30 order from the UK Government to be able to hold a referendum without legal challenge.

The First Minister also declared a "climate emergency" before delegates, in the wake of high-profile environmental protests in the UK and around the world.

She said with Westminster sinking "deeper into the Brexit mire", her administration would be "taking on those very issues the UK Government is ignoring", pledging action on housing and climate change.

She said: "Today, as First Minister of Scotland, I am declaring that there is a climate emergency.

"Scotland will live up to our responsibility to tackle it."

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