CML urges the government to reform housing industry

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has urged the government to increase support for mortgage borrowers who fall into payment difficulties and renew its commitment to sustainable home-ownership.

This it says would enhance the safety-net for home-buyers and minimize the numbers of arrears and repossessions.

In its pre-Budget report, the CML points out that more than half the UK’s poor are home-owners, but the government’s safety-net measures are strongly tilted towards people in other forms of tenure.

The CML believes that one way the government can redress this balance is by increasing the 100,000 maximum mortgage sum eligible for income support for mortgage interest.

This threshold has not been increased since 1995, so the overall level of support available for home-owners is currently at its lowest level for over 20 years.

The CML’s pre-Budget report also urges the government to reform the current slab structure of stamp duty. The current system creates inefficiencies in the housing market and undermines the government’s efforts to get would-be home-owners on to the property ladder.

CML also want the government to ensure there are enough energy assessors to deliver the energy performance certificate part of home information packs. If there is a delay which causes a shortfall in the number of assessors it could impact on the delivery of the packs and ultimately have a negative effect on the market.

Bob Pannell, head of research and information at CML, says: “Home-ownership is far and away the most popular tenure in the UK. But it is surprising that at a time when the government is promoting the wider benefits of home-ownership, the safety-nets it has in place to help struggling home-owners are being neglected.”

“We strongly urge the government to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable home-ownership by reviewing how the benefits system helps home-owners who find themselves in difficulty.”