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6 May 2009 : Column 247W—continued

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much will be provided from the Homes and Communities Agency’s budget for (a) the Repossession Prevention Fund, (b) the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, (c) the Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme and (d) the measures announced to increase the level of homebuilding in the 2009 Budget in each of the next three years. [272212]

Margaret Beckett: The Repossession Prevention Fund will be funded directly from my Department’s budget not the Homes and Communities Agency budget.

For the Mortgage Rescue Scheme the HCA budget for 2009-10 will include £140 million and for 2010-11 will include £95 million.

The Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme will be funded directly from my Department’s budget not the HCA budget.

As a result of the Budget 2009 the HCA will receive an additional £450 million over the next two years (2009-10 and 2010-11) to help increase the levels of house building. This is broken down as follows:


6 May 2009 : Column 248W

Budgets for 2011-12 are dependent on the outcome of the next spending review.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether property owners in negative equity are eligible for assistance under the Mortgage Rescue Scheme; [272448]

(2) what changes to the eligibility criteria for the Mortgage Rescue Scheme she proposes to make to extend eligibility to property owners in negative equity; and whether those with no equity will be eligible for assistance under the scheme. [272449]

Margaret Beckett: In the Budget 2009 it was announced that the Mortgage Rescue Scheme criteria will be expanded to include eligible households previously excluded due to negative equity. This change will come into effect from 1 May 2009.

All households are now able to apply for the Mortgage Rescue Scheme so long as they meet all the other eligibility criteria and the value of their mortgage (and any additional secured loans) is less than 120 per cent. of the value of their home.

This change reflects our commitment to keep the scheme under review in order to maintain flexibility in the light of changing market conditions.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many months arrears are required for a homeowner to be eligible for assistance under (a) the Mortgage Rescue scheme and (b) the Homeowners Mortgage Support scheme. [272451]

Margaret Beckett: Neither the Mortgage Rescue scheme nor Homeowners Mortgage Support have a requirement for households to be in arrears for a specified period in order to access the schemes.

For the Mortgage Rescue scheme, lenders are expected to demonstrate that they have used their full range of hardship tools—including in most cases three months’ forbearance—before a household applies for support.

For Homeowners Mortgage Support, households need to have demonstrated that they have had a temporary loss of household income and to have been making regular payments (but not necessarily in full) in agreement with their lender for at least five months.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government within how many years of purchase must a home be repossessed in order for mortgage lenders to be eligible for payment under the Homeowners Mortgage Support scheme. [272457]

Margaret Beckett: Homeowners Mortgage Support will enable eligible borrowers who suffer a temporary loss of income to cut their mortgage interest payments for up to two years to help them get back on track with their finances and avoid repossession. The Government will guarantee the lenders against a proportion of any loss incurred on the deferred interest payments in case the borrower defaults.


6 May 2009 : Column 249W

The period in which claims can be made under the guarantee will last for four years after the borrower comes off the scheme. As a condition of participation in the scheme, lenders will need to commit to best practice in forbearance when the borrower exits the scheme, and agree reasonable and affordable repayment schedules, with the aim of keeping any subsequent repossessions to a minimum.

A claim would be made once the property had been sold, if the equity remaining in the property was insufficient to clear the debt. The period of four years was set following discussions with stakeholders to ensure that repossession is prevented wherever possible, and is always a last resort.

Following this period, the liability returns to the lender, since it is assumed that a household still remaining in their home for that long will be continuing to make normal payments by that time.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which banks are not participating in the Homeowner Mortgage Support scheme. [272462]

Margaret Beckett: My written ministerial statement of 21 April 2009, Official Report, columns 5-6WS, set out those lenders signed up to the Homeowners Mortgage Support (HMS) scheme, those lenders who will offer HMS as soon as possible and those lenders offering comparable arrangements. This represents around 80 per cent. of the mortgage market.

We will continue to work with the remaining 20 per cent. of the market including many smaller lenders, to encourage as many as possible to offer HMS or comparable arrangements for their customers in the future. A list of UK lenders is available in the “Council of Mortgage Lenders year book and directory of lenders and associated services, 2008-09” (which covers around 98 per cent. of the market).

Planning Permission

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications were made in each of the last four quarters. [272203]

Mr. Iain Wright: The number of planning applications made in each of the last four quarters for which data are available in England is tabled as follows:

Period Number received ( T housand)

January to March 2008

158

April to June 2008

149

July to September 2008

135

October to December 2008

111

Source:
Communities and Local Government General Development Control Returns PSl/PSF

Regional Government: Mass Media

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much each (a) Government Office and (b) regional assembly spent on media monitoring services in each of the last three years. [272415]


6 May 2009 : Column 250W

Mr. Khan: Government Office costs for media monitoring services in each of the last three years is as follows:

£
Government office 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

North East

(2)3,000

3,000

(1)

Yorkshire and The Humber

16,450

12,885.05

(1)

North West

0

0

(1)

East Midlands

0

0

(1)

West Midlands

0

0

0

East of England

(2)6,500

3,000

(1)

South West

29,553

6,627

(2)7,097

South East

0

0

0

London

976.15

4,515.87

1,275.89

(1 )In 2008-09 the Government Office Network contracted media monitoring services for five Government Offices at a cost of £28,793.38.
(2) Plus VAT.

Details of any media monitoring costs for regional assemblies is not held centrally and there would be a disproportionate cost incurred in trying to obtain this information.

Repossession Orders: Essex

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many home repossessions initiated by (a) building societies and (b) banks there were in (i) Essex and (ii) Castle Point constituency in each of the last five years. [273375]

Mr. Iain Wright: There are two independent sources of data on actual numbers of mortgage possessions: The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the Financial Services Authority (FSA). However both are only available for the United Kingdom as a whole.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders latest press release on this is on their website at:

The CML data on repossessions are no longer freely available from their website. For detailed time series information members of the public can request to subscribe to CML to obtain access to a restricted website.

The Financial Services Authority data is available on their website at

The CML and FSA release slightly different figures. The CML data is for repossessions on first-charge mortgages only, including Buy-to-Let mortgages, as issued by their members. CML estimate that their lenders currently account for 98 per cent. of mortgage lending. The FSA data, as well as covering possessions on first-charge mortgages, covers possessions on second-charge loans by regulated firms (many second charge lenders are not regulated) but doesn't cover possessions as comprehensively on Buy-to-Let mortgages, as some of these are from unregulated firms. The overall effect of the differences is that the FSA's statistics on possessions are slightly higher.

Smoke Alarms

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to encourage the use of smoke detectors in domestic properties. [272874]


6 May 2009 : Column 251W

Mr. Khan: It has been our policy for some time that smoke alarms have a vital role to play in saving lives as they provide the vital early warning of fire and therefore help people to escape. Since 1987, the Government have conducted high profile national and regional television campaigns promoting smoke alarms which have proved very successful. Ownership has increased from 9 per cent. in 1987 to the current level of 80 per cent. and we are seeking to raise it further as evidence suggests that those without alarms are often in those groups who are most at risk from fire. The Government are committed to running further smoke alarms ownership and maintenance campaigns as part of this years programme.

Furthermore, in 2004, Communities and Local Government invested £25 million pump priming capital over four years in the Home Fire Risk Check initiative. This funding resulted in just under 2 million Home Fire Safety Checks by fire and rescue services in England, installing over 2.4 million smoke alarms. Research into the impact of the Home Fire Risk Check initiative demonstrates it was responsible for 57 per cent. of the fall in accidental dwelling fire deaths. The research also concluded that the Home Fire Risk Check grant was responsible for 13,670 fewer fires and 888 fewer non-fatal casualties. The value placed on these figures showed a total benefit of £926 million to £1,943 million to the economy.

Tenant Services Authority

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the Tenant Services Authority to launch its National Conversation; and what budget has been allocated to it. [265261]

Mr. Iain Wright: The National Conversation was launched on 19 January 2009. The budget allocated for the Conversation was £600,000.

Travelling People: South East

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 28 April 2009, Official Report, column 1181W, on Travelling people: South East, how many responses to the South East England Regional Assembly consultation were received; and how many were returned for being discriminatory; [272766]

(2) from what source the South East England Regional Assembly took its legal advice on the treatment of responses to its consultation. [272767]

Mr. Iain Wright: I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to the hon. Member on 28 April 2009, Official Report, column 1181W.

Duchy of Lancaster

Charities

Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many charities were on the Charity Commission register in each of (a) the last 30 years and (b) the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [272400]


6 May 2009 : Column 252W

Kevin Brennan: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the Commission to reply.

Letter from Andrew Hind, dated 6 May 2009:

Financial year Total of main (reporting) charities

1978-79

101,956

1979-80

105,238

1980-81

109,012

1981-82

112,338

1982-83

115,967

1983-84

119,643

1984-85

123,455

1985-86

127,221

1986-87

131,074

1987-88

135,113

1988-89

138,804

1989-90

142,592

1990-91

145,969

1991-92

142,205

1992-93

138,613

1993-94

147,863

1994-95

153,880

1995-96

157,894

1996-97

156,919

1997-98

159,988

1998-99

162,370

1999-2000

160,189

2000-01

160,625


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