Outlook: Mortgage move

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN BYERS has grabbed some favourable headlines to help keep himself warm this Christmas by announcing his ban on compulsory home insurance policies linked to mortgages.

But where is the bigger package promised by the Government, imposing statutory regulation on the mortgage market? If the lenders are right and the home insurance scam only operates in 100 out of 4,000 mortgage products, then Mr Byers is picking off the wrong targets. The Financial Services Authority has demonstrated that the gulf between the best and worst mortgage products on offer is much greater than should be tolerated in a competitive and properly functioning market.

It also calculates that the cost of regulation would be so small as to cause little or no detriment. But is Mr Byers going cold on the idea?