Personal Finance: Keep home fire burning

THE Council of Mortgage Lenders is expected to announce a further decline in repossessions and mortgage arrears this week.

So even though the housing market has failed to spark into life, a slight rise in house prices and continuing low interest rates have eased the housing strain.

The Government seems to be using this turn in the housing cycle to try to pull away the social security net from home-owners.

It wants them to take out their own insurance against redundancy or sickness - conditions that render them unable to keep up their mortgage payments.

At present, home-owners who qualify for income support can get the interest on up to pounds 125,000 of mortgage borrowing paid by the state. There used to be no limit, until the publicity spotlight fell on Peter Julian's pounds 630,000 mortgage on his Hampstead home.

Andrew Longhurst, chairman of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, warned the Government that taking away this support would knock away the bottom rungs of the housing ladder.

People on modest wages with scant savings would not dare to embark on home ownership without this comfort. But lenders are also pursuing their own interest by adopting a more prudent and pessimistic lending policy, further marginalising the low- paid, self-employed and those with insecure employment.

It is in all home-owners' interest to have people knocking on the door behind them - rather like a pyramid selling operation. No one already aboard the merry-go- round wants the music to stop. So we must all be kinder and take care of those who suffer when the fun-fair judders.

THE Nationwide Building Society tries very hard to be democratic. Last week, it held elections for the board but only about 2.5 per cent of the 3.5 million voting members bothered to vote - even fewer than last year.

None of the three 'outsiders' was elected, while all the board-nominated candidates were returned. It does not look as if building society democracy is thriving.

But I predict that the Cheltenham & Gloucester will be returning to the fray next month with a new scheme to smooth its path up to Lloyds Bank's door. It needs a healthy turnout and a hefty vote of confidence to get anything through. But the lure of lucre should bring out the votes when it counts.

YOU MIGHT have noticed that parking wardens look a little different these days.

They have shed their links with the police and are now operated by local authorities.

As a result, parking fines have been decriminalised and are now handled by the county courts rather than magistrates' courts.

You might think, then, that failure to pay a parking fine would lead to a county court judgment that could tarnish your credit rating when it comes to applying for a credit card or loan.

But no. The Registry of County Court Judgments was so worried that it would be overwhelmed that an exception is being made for parking fines, and they will not appear as county court judgments on your credit files.

But if you get up to any funny business, such as offering a dud cheque to pay the parking fine, then it will haunt your financial life.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Client Services Executive / Account Executive - SW London

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Executive / Client Services ...

PA to CEO / Executive Secretary

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Executive PA to CEO & Executive Dire...

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Senior C# Developer (.NET, C#, JMS, TDD, Web API, MVC, integrat

£45000 - £75000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior C...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis