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Banks: Regulation

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps the Government have taken to encourage banks to assist mortgage payers made unemployed; (248319)

(2) what recent steps the Government have taken to assist people paying their mortgages.

The Government have announced a new Homeowner Mortgage Support scheme, which will enable households that experience a significant and temporary loss of income as a result of the economic downturn to defer a proportion of the interest payments on their mortgage for up to two years.

The Government have also launched a mortgage rescue scheme to help borrowers facing repayment difficulties remain in their homes and this scheme has been extended to include second charge lending. Local authorities and housing associations can either buy a property and then rent it back to them, or buy a share of the property to reduce the household's overall mortgage costs.

The Government also provides direct support to individuals through Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), which is available to those out of work and pensioners. As a temporary measure, the waiting period has been cut to 13 weeks for all new working age claimants and the Government are broadening the reach of the scheme by increasing the size of the mortgage for which support is payable to £200,000.

The Government have also extended the provision of free impartial debt advice with measures announced in the pre-Budget report.