Mortgages: Government Assistance

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of recent changes to the support for mortgage interest element of benefits; and how many households he estimates will benefit from the extension of this element of benefits to homeowners who have been unemployed for 13 weeks or more.

Photo of Kitty Ussher Kitty Ussher Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

At this time we do not have data to provide actual figures on the number of people who are being helped under the new support for mortgage interest rules.

It should be noted that since these changes were brought in on the 5 January, the impact on new claims would not show up until the end of the 13 week waiting period in early April 2009; although the extension of the reforms to cover those who have already served a waiting period over 13 weeks, and the six-month freeze of the standard interest rate, will mean that customers have started benefiting already.

We are currently revising our caseload and expenditure projections for jobseeker's allowance, and within this the number of claimant unemployed who are receiving support for mortgage interest. Updated projections will be published following the Budget.

In November 2008, 5,000 jobseeker's allowance claimants received support for mortgage interest, but we would expect this figure to rise in response to increasing unemployment and recent policy changes making support for mortgage interest available from three months into the claim.

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