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Written Answers

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 3 June 1986

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Written Answers

Mortgage Payment Arrears: Assistance

asked Her Majesty's Government:What assistance they are giving to unemployed home buyers who fall into arrears with repayments on capital and interest on mortgages.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security
(Baroness Trumpington)

There are special arrangements to help borrowers who are in receipt of supplementary benefit and who are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage interest. No help can be given with capital repayments but an amount is allowed for mortgage interest in the calculation of supplementary benefit for all claimants responsible for paying mortgages. Building societies are normally willing to accept payment of interest only from claimants. But if a claimant falls into arrears with mortgage payments the sum allowed for mortgage interest in his benefit and £1·50 towards the arrears may be deducted and paid on his behalf to the mortgagee if:

  • (i) the claimant is in arrears because, in the opinion of the adjudicating officer, he has failed to budget; and
  • (ii) he has not paid two of the mortgage payments due in the preceding twelve weeks; and
  • (iii) in the opinion of the adjudicating officer, it is in the claimant's interests to institute direct payment.
  • The adjudication officer may also institute direct payment even if these criteria are not satisfied if in his opinion it is in the overriding interests of the claimant or his family to do so.In addition, each local office has a special case officer, whose responsibility it is to give particular attention to individual cases where difficulties arise. These officers are trained to give advice in cases where there are problems in budgeting. Cases are referred to the special case officer from within the local office and also externally, direct from local authority social services departments (social welfare department in Scotland) or similar organisations.

    Us Submarine Exercises: Rn Participation

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether British submarines have taken part in the SUBICE series of exercises conducted by the United States Navy under the Arctic ice, and whether any of these exercises have embodied the principles of the United States New Maritime

    Strategy, which is not accepted by NATO or the United Kingdom (

    Naval War College Review, May-June 1985, pp. 19 et seq).

    As the article in the May-June issue of the United States Naval War College Review indicates, Royal Navy submarines have taken part in the SUBICE series of exercises. The purpose of our occasional participation in this series of exercises over the period 1971–1981 was to provide our submarine force with experience of the problems they would encounter operating in their NATO role in the harsh Arctic environment.

    Ilea Teaching Pack

    asked Her Majesty's Government pursuant to the Written Answer given by the Earl of Swinton on 12th May 1986 (H.L. Debates, col. 1026):On what date the Department of Education and Science asked the Inner London Education Authority for their comments on the teaching pack

    Auschwitz: Yesterday's Racism, and whether they have yet received a reply.

    Officials wrote on 15th April 1986 to the Inner London Education Authority about the teaching pack Auschwitz: Yesterday's Racism and the department received a substantive reply from the authority on 21st May 1986. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State wrote to the noble Lord on Friday 30th May reporting that the authority accepts that parts of the teacher's guide to the pack are inappropriate and has undertaken to revise them.

    British Board Of Film Classification

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are aware that the British Board of Film Classification is a Limited Company, and who are the principal shareholders to benefit from profits made out of charges made for enforced classification of video tapes under the Video Recordings Act.

    The British Board of Film Classification is a company limited by guarantee and has no share capital. The board's memorandum of association specifically excludes distribution of any income or surplus to members of the company by way of dividend or in any other way.