§ Mr. Gorrie
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to reduce the time it takes for unemployed people to receive contributions from the benefit system towards mortgage payments. 
§ Mr. Bayley
We believe that where possible, homeowners have a responsibility to provide for short term contingencies themselves, for example through private mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI). We have worked closely with the industry to extend the nature and coverage of MPPI products so that they are suitable for a wider group of people.
For the majority of people, assistance via the benefit system with their mortgage is restricted until they have served a 39 week waiting period. Exceptions to this rule are people who took out a mortgage prior to 2 October 1995, and certain vulnerable people, who are subject to a shorter waiting period, and people aged 60 and over whose interest is paid from the outset of the claim.
We have no plans to reduce the waiting periods.