Second homes row over mortgage plan

George Osborne with a young coupleThe Government's mortgage guarantee scheme has been plunged into confusion amid claims it could be used to buy second homes.

Housing minister Mark Prisk flatly denied the initiative could be exploited by people purchasing extra properties during an interview this lunchtime.

He insisted applicants would have to provide a legal undertaking that they had sold their existing home.

However, within hours Treasury sources were clarifying the remarks, suggesting Mr Prisk had only been referring to the "equity loan" element of Help to Buy.

The Government is still working out details of the mortgage guarantee element with the industry before it launches next January, they added.

The mixed messages came after George Osborne repeatedly ducked the issue in a tour of television and radio studios following his Budget.

The Chancellor was also hit with warnings from Labour and the Tory backbenches that the £12 billion policy would merely drive up house prices rather than kick-start construction.

Budget 2013: Winners and Losers

Budget 2013: Winners and Losers