Letter: No job, no home

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your report (15 January) that Labour plans to cut mortgage help for people who lose their jobs sits strangely with Mr Blair's declaration that he wants to appeal to the middle-class vote. What could be more unsettling to a homeowner than to be told that, if they lose their job, they might also lose their house?

The last government cut help to home owners in these circumstances by delaying the payment of income support on mortgage interest for nine months. The present government has been engaged in talks with the mortgage and insurance industries to find ways of closing the gap, but all the evidence shows that people who are most vulnerable either do not have insurance or cannot get the insurer to pay out.

The Chancellor has so far held back from ending mortgage interest tax relief, which still costs pounds 2bn. Why not phase out this indiscriminate subsidy and use the money to provide better support to the most vulnerable owners? This would help to cut repossessions,and save money that councils spend on housing the repossessed.


Director of Policy

Chartered Institute of Housing