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Clause 16 - Loans for mortgage interest

Part of Welfare Reform and Work Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 15th October 2015.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 11:45 am, 15th October 2015

The hon. Lady makes a very good point, and she gives me the opportunity to make it clear that, unlike students, almost all the people we are talking about have an asset—a property. Therefore, the two groups are fundamentally different. The interest rate we  charge will be what we will have paid to borrow the money, and that will depend on the gilt rates at the time. It is as straightforward as that.

The Government recognise the importance of helping owner-occupiers in times of need, and they remain committed to doing so. We are simply changing the nature of the support we provide so that in future the support will be paid to claimants in the form of a recoverable loan. We will recover the loan only when the house is sold, or earlier if individuals’ circumstances change and they are in a position to pay the money back.

It is right that taxpayers, many of whom are unable to afford their own home, will no longer be asked to subsidise claimants in the accrual of a significant asset. We will continue to engage with stakeholders as we prepare for the introduction of these measures, which is vital to ensure that implementation is smooth and that the provision of support for mortgage interest continues seamlessly through the transition.

Requiring the affirmative resolution procedure would have a negative impact on implementation planning and the development of contracting arrangements with third party providers, and in so doing delay the savings that can be achieved by this measure. I hope that the hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury will withdraw the amendment.