§ Mr. Simpson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of households receiving income support have no record of being in arrears in their 223W morgage interest payments to banks or building societies; what consideration he has given to concerns that the introduction of automatic direct payments would remove from them a responsibility that they have hitherto discharged reliably and could be perceived as a slur on their willingness to pay; and if he will make it possible for people in such circumstances to continue to make their own mortgage interest payments.
§ Mr. Burt
Information on mortgagees receiving income support who are, or have ever been, in arrears with mortgage payments is not collected.
The new direct payment scheme is part of a package of measures agreed with mortgage lenders, aimed at reducing the number of repossessions. The previous selective scheme did not readily identify all arrears cases and therefore did not provide an adequate reassurance against the risk of repossession for claimants and their families. The new scheme does not suffer from this defect and ensures that benefit provided specifically for mortgage interest payments reaches the lender. There is no question of any such slur on any benefit recipients, the majority of whom discharged their liability towards mortgage lenders faithfully.
We have no plans to revise the new scheme.
§ Mr. Watson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the estimated total additional administrative costs associated with introducing automatic direct payments to mortgage lenders of income support in respect of mortgage interest in 1992–93; and what contribution to these additional administrative costs have been made, or are likely to he made by mortgage lenders in 1992–93.
§ Mr. Watson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what arrangements are being made to meet the administrative costs of automatic direct payments to mortgage lenders of income support in respect of mortgage interest in 1993–94; and if he will make a statement.