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Social Mobility

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the likely effects of the reduction in levels of sub-prime lending upon social mobility. (252695)

The Government recognise that access to financial assets can play a key role in determining future outcomes. We are committed to supporting people's ambitions to own their own home, where this is sustainable, and we are determined to improve access to assets for all families.

We recognise that, despite the recent fall in house prices, the turbulence in the global financial markets has resulted in severe restrictions on mortgages and in many cases a requirement for purchasers to have significant deposits, making it harder for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder.

We are taking a range of measures in response to these difficult market conditions. For example, we have introduced HomeBuy Direct, a new scheme offered in partnership with house builders that is designed to help up to 18,000 first-time buyers into affordable home ownership with the aid of an equity loan of up to 30 per cent. (which can be used as a deposit). We are also taking steps to improve mortgage funding markets, as this is key to lowering mortgage costs and increasing the availability of affordable mortgages. Following on the Crosby Report's recommendations on mortgage finance markets, the Government will provide up to £50 billion of guarantees on new mortgage lending (and eventually on other assets).