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Persimmon shares hit over Help to Buy scrutiny | Business News

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Shares in UK housebuilders have fallen following reports the government is examining Persimmon’s practices under the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers.

Persimmon saw its stock fall by more than 8% in early deals while competitors’ shares, including those in Berkeley, Barratt and Taylor Wimpey, were also down.

It followed a report in The Times at the weekend which claimed Persimmon could be stripped of its right to sell properties under the scheme amid allegations of poor standards and hidden fees.

It said the housing secretary James Brokenshire was concerned by the FTSE 100 firm’s activities – which includes the sale of properties on leasehold terms, forcing buyers to pay ground rent.

Profits per home have almost tripled since 2012 – before Help to Buy began, helping those with a 5% deposit access a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price, or 40% if the property is in London.

The company’s participation in the scheme has also fuelled the flames of investor anger over pay awards.

The row culminated in the chief executive Jeff Fairburn being forced out last year as the company signalled it wished to move on from “distractions” over his pay and bonuses totalling £75m.

He is yet to be replaced though more information could be revealed in the company’s full-year results, which are due to be presented to the City on Tuesday.

Persimmon refused to comment while the government was yet to comment on the Times report.

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