HC Deb 07 May 1998 vol 311 cc463-4W
Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when she will be amending the rules in the income related benefits concerning the treatment of income from creditor insurance policies as announced in the Green Paper, "New Ambition For Our Country—A New Contract For Welfare". [41486]

Mr. Keith Bradley

Following statutory consultation with Local Government Associations and the Social Security Advisory Committee, we will be laying regulations before the House on Monday 11 May. The new regulations will cover creditor insurance policies taken out to meet payments on bank loans, hire-purchase agreements and similar commitments. Income from these policies will be disregarded in the income-related benefits, irrespective of the payment arrangements, as long as it is both intended and used to cover past debt. The regulations will come into effect from June 1.

Existing regulations mean that payments under these creditor insurance policies are taken into account in full if they are made to the individual, but are ignored if made direct to the creditor. The new regulations will remove that anomaly.

Changing the rules to make specific reference to creditor insurance, now widely available and taken-up, demonstrates our commitment to ensure that the benefit system reflects the needs of modern society. Disregarding this income reaffirms our view that people should be encouraged to provide for themselves when they can, and ensures that people who have acted responsibly by taking out this insurance will not lose out.