Bob Blackman (Harrow East, Conservative)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will discuss with the banking sector measures to give flexibility to people with cancer who go into mortgage arrears because of being unable to work during treatment.
Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove, Conservative)
The Government is determined that repossession is a last resort for lenders to take, whatever the reason for that individual entering arrears. This is set out in the Mortgage Pre-Action Protocol.
The Government is also committed to supporting people who are diagnosed with cancer: homeowners who have a mortgage, and who receive income-based employment and support allowance (ESA)—a benefit that is intended for those who are ill or disabled, including those with cancer—may be entitled to support for mortgage interest (SMI).
SMI is intended to provide financial help towards mortgage costs of claimants, in order to help them to avoid mortgage arrears and subsequent repossession. It covers eligible interest on loans, up to prescribed capital limits, taken out to purchase a home and on certain home improvement loans.
Claimants who receive SMI as part of their ESA award do not have a time-limit applied to their SMI claim.
Autumn statement 2012 announced that temporary measures to increase the generosity of SMI to working-age claimants have been extended until 2015.