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Income Support: Mortgages

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effects of the ending of emergency payments of income support for mortgage interest on vulnerable mortgage holders; and what steps he plans to take through the benefits system to reduce the risk of repossessions among such mortgage holders. (252694)

Customers in vulnerable groups, and those with existing housing costs as defined under the previous rules that existed before 5 January 2009, will receive help with 100 per cent. of their eligible housing costs after a waiting period of 13 weeks under the new rules.

This compares favourably with the previous position because although such customers received 50 per cent. of eligible housing costs after eight weeks under the old rules, they had to wait 26 weeks before receiving 100 per cent. Such customers will now be better off overall by four weeks of full eligible interest in the first 26 weeks of their claims than they would have been under the rules that existed before 5 January. We believe that this more generous help, taken together with the increased capital limit from £100,000 to £200,000, will reduce the risk of repossessions.