HC Deb 17 February 1978 vol 944 cc396-7W
Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he has received representations from old people's organisations and life assurance organisations asking him to extend the option mortgage scheme to non-tax-paying pensioners; and what reply he has sent;

(2) what is his policy in regard to the extension of home income plans under-written by assurance companies to include elderly non-tax-paying pensioners.

Mr. Freeson

I have received representations from one assurance company, from the Life Offices Association and from three members of the public. It would not be appropriate to extend the option mortgage scheme in the way proposed. The scheme is intended to assist those on modest incomes to buy or improve their homes. It is not designed to help those who already own their own homes to take mortgages to increase their general incomes.

Mr. Sainsbury

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the number of option mortgages entered into in the current year; and what is the cost to public funds.

Mr. Freeson

About 107,000 new option mortgages were taken out in England in 1977. The subsidy payable in 1977 on these new option mortgages was £26.5 million. No estimate is yet available for 1978.