John Major last night kept alive building society and housebuilders' hopes that the Government could yet help home-owners by confirming that a "range of options" were being studied in Whitehall.
Mr Major said that ministers had been giving serious consideration to a wide range of proposals put to them aimed at helping the homes market.
Mr Major's remarks came as the Commons approved by a 16-vote majority controversial proposals to withdraw from October income support for mortgage- payers who lose their jobs. Housebuilders argue the plan has further reduced confidence in the housing market.
The Prime Minister sought to reassure restive housebuilders by confirming to the Manufacturing and Construction Industries Alliance an earlier promise by Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, that the Government was not planning further cuts in mortgage interest relief in the current Parliament. But on possible fiscal help, he said Ministers had not yet decided "which action would be appropriate".
The president of the Housebuilders' Federation, Charles Gallagher, warned there was a widespread fear home ownership was no longer a core value for the Government.Reuse content