§ Mr. Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 24 January,Official Report, column 26, what are the criteria and rules applying to the house purchase loans for departmental staff on compulsory transfer including the circumstances under which loans can be written off; what were the total amounts loaned or granted under the scheme in 1992–93 and so far in 1993–94; and how many staff were assisted in 1992–93 and so far in 1993–94.
§ Mr. Baldry
Advances of salary are available to assist with the costs of house purchase when staff are involved in permanent and compulsory transfers. Loans are advanced when staff move to a higher-priced housing area or when, because of individual circumstances, they would not otherwise be able to afford to move home. Staff must take the maximum mortgage they can afford and contribute the net proceeds of sale of the old property. Loans are normally limited to half annual salary. Staff posted to London whose loan under the normal rules would be limited to less than £9,500 can, however, obtain an extra £1,000.
Loans must be repaid within 12 years of the date of transfer, but repayment can be deferred for up to four years from the date of the transfer. The advance is repayable if the borrower ceases to be a civil servant or if completion of purchase is not made.
Excluding PSA Services, there were 14 loans in 1992–93 amounting to £115,529 and 10 so far in 1993–94 amounting to £94,600.
Write-off is unlikely and would normally be approved only after all avenues of recovery had been pursued. There have been no write-offs in 1992–93 or 1993–94.