§ Mrs. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost to the Exchequer of mortgage interest tax relief in(a) 1996–97 and (b) 1997–98. 
§ Mr. Jack
The estimated total cost of mortgage interest relief in 1996–97 is £2.3 billion. This estimate is provisional. It is based on the assumption, by convention, of no change from the current estimated average building society interest rate of 6.5 per cent. The cost of the relief in 1997–98 would depend on future interest rates and the future distribution of the number and value of outstanding mortgages.