§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the Exchequer of mortgage interest tax relief in(a) 1997–98 and (b) 1998–99. 
§ Mr. Jack
[holding answer 27 January 1997]: The estimated total cost of mortgage interest relief in 1997–98 is £2.4 billion. This estimate is provisional. It is based on the assumption, by convention, of no change from the current estimated average building society interest rate of 6.43 per cent. The cost of the relief in 1998–99 would depend on future interest rates, the future distribution of the number and value of outstanding mortgages, and the rate and limit of relief.