HC Deb 19 March 1996 vol 274 c162
8. Mr. Ainger

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many representations he has received on his changes to the payment of mortgage interest for benefit claimants. [19706]

Mr. Roger Evans

We have received a number of representations.

Mr. Ainger

Is the Minister aware that the application of the standard interest rate to those with a fixed-rate repayment mortgage means that they suffer a significant reduction in benefit because they have to top up their payments, which his Department should be doing, to cover their mortgage? I have corresponded with the Minister about a constituent, Mr. Tickle of Maenclochog. Does the Minister accept that the way the standard rate is applied to people with fixed-rate mortgages means that the promise that his Department gave that no claimant would lose out is not being honoured, and that it is time for a change?

Mr. Evans

The answer, I am happy to say, is no. I have caused further inquiries to be made about Mr. Tickle's case. I am told that he has a variable-rate mortgage, not a fixed-rate mortgage, and it appears that the system of add back is operating perfectly fairly, as we expected it to, to protect Mr. Tickle 100 per cent. I shall write again to the hon. Gentleman. If he wants to see me to discuss Mr. Tickle's case, I shall be happy to do so.