§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many repossessions have been stopped as a result of the agreement reached between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and mortgage lenders, as announced on 19 December.
§ Mr. Maples
I have been asked to reply.
It is too early to provide an estimate of the number of repossessions which have been prevented as a result of the measures agreed with the Council of Mortgage Lenders. However, excellent progress is being made on the implementation of the package. The Bill to suspend stamp duty on properties valued at up to £250,000 has received royal assent and the Bill to make income support payments of mortgage interest direct to lenders has passed all its Commons stages. In addition, the major lenders have committed themselves to helping borrowers in difficulties through mortgage rescue schemes involving funding of up to £3/4 billion. Such schemes are now coming into operation. The various measures will have a substantial impact on the level of repossessions this year.