§ Mr. Boston
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will give details of the new assisted house purchase scheme for ratings of the Royal Navy.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The Long Service (Advances of Pay) Scheme for naval ratings, which I forecast in the House last March, came into effect on 1st September this year. It is designed to help Leading Ratings or above, and their Royal Marine counterparts, who re-230W engage or have re-engaged for pension, to buy their own homes.
Briefly, the terms are as follows. Advances can be obtained up to the sum of 12 per cent. of the purchase price of the house, plus £100 to cover legal and survey fees, etc., or up to the amount of the terminal grant payable to a Leading Rating on 22 years' service, whichever is the lower. At present rates this will permit a maximum advance of £557. The advances, which will be recoverable from pay, will be interest-free. Repayment will be at the rate of 10 per cent. per year over the last 10 years of service. In cases where less than 10 years remain to be served, repayment will still be at the 10 per cent. rate, the balance being recovered from the terminal grant which is payable on final discharge. Recovery will be waived in cases of death or invaliding, and to cover this there will be a very small annual charge. As soon as a married man who qualifies for the scheme has found a house he would like to buy, he arranges a mortgage, obtains the services of a solicitor, and applies to his commanding officer for an advance.
Naval families are often faced with serious problems of housing and separation. I hope that this scheme will help many of them to secure a permanent home. Indications so far are that the introduction of this scheme has been well worth while.