§ Mr. Deakins
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has about the number of new and other mortgages, respectively, eligible for tax relief in the latest year for which figures are available; and how many of the mortgages which were not new were for house purchase and how many were for improvements to existing property.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont
In 1985 about 1.3 million eligible mortgages for house purchase were taken out. Just under half of these were taken out by first-time buyers and the remainder by former owner-occupiers. In addition, about 0.9 million loans were taken out for home improvements which also qualified for tax relief. The amounts borrowed for home improvements are typically much smaller than loans for purchase. Although precise estimates are not available, the proportion of tax relief which corresponds to improvement loans is estimated to be between 5 and 10 per cent. of the total cost of relief.