HC Deb 21 April 1971 vol 815 cc1167-8
24. Mr. Leonard

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now add older applicants to the categories of people recommended to local authorities for priority in mortgage loans.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Paul Channon)

Older people in general comprise too wide a category for the purpose, but my right hon. Friend is ready to consider proposals from local authorities for helping older people whose needs in the area are broadly of the same priority as the present categories.

Mr. Leonard

Is not the Under-Secretary aware that there is now overwhelming evidence that applicants over the age of 40 find it well-nigh impossible to get mortgages from building societies if it is their first mortgage application and that even applicants over the age of 30 find it exceedingly difficult? Would he not reconsider this as a matter of great urgency?

Mr. Channon

I have already agreed to one scheme for mortgage loans to older people with provision for reduced repayments during retirement. If there is evidence that there is a general need, my right hon. Friend is prepared to consider it.

Mr. Allason

Would my hon. Friend consider expanding this to new towns, because, certainly in the older new towns, older residents find it difficult to afford to buy their own houses, much though they wish to do so?

Mr. Channon

Yes, we would certainly consider that.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that both old and young owner-occupiers are waiting for the Government to take action over mortgage interest rates?

Mr. Channon

This Question relates to local authority loans. In view of the record of the last Government in reducing them to the level they did I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman dares to raise the matter.