One of the best ways in which the Government can support homeowners with their mortgage costs is by ensuring that the economy remains strong and competitive so that employment is high and interest rates are as low as possible.
At the end of this month, the Government are taking away mortgage support from 110,000 people, and only 7,000 so far have applied for the loan that replaces that scheme. What do the Government think that the other 103,000 people are going to do on 2 April?
I think that the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the support for mortgage interest policy, on which the DWP leads. The Government are right to strike the right balance between the needs of hard-pressed homeowners and the taxpayer. If he is really interested in helping homeowners, perhaps he can explain to his constituents why he voted against the stamp duty cut that this Government implemented.
The withdrawal of support for mortgage interest came as a bolt from the blue to my constituents who came to see me on Friday. Many thousands like them will struggle due to the withdrawal of the support and may not wish to take up an additional loan. What options will be open to these people? What assessment has the Secretary of State made of the impact on people who are forced out of a home that they have bought into social rented housing, and of the impact on waiting lists?
I think that the hon. Lady misunderstands the policy—at least it certainly seems so, given the way she described it. The Government are not withdrawing support; we are making it fairer and ensuring that it is still available. The support will be loan-based, with a soft loan secured on the individual’s property. This also protects the rights of taxpayers, and I would have thought that she would be interested in doing that.