There has been a great deal of publicity this week about the government’s plans to help claimants to take on a mortgage.  However, no-one seems to have asked claimants what they think of the idea . . . so we thought we would.   Please take part in the poll below.

The plans announced include:

  • Extending the right to buy to 2.5 million housing association tenants.
  • Turning ‘benefits to bricks’. This proposal involves changing benefits rules so that the 1.5 million people who are in work but also on housing benefit will be given the choice to use their benefit towards a mortgage, rather than automatically going directly to private landlords and housing associations.
  • Changing universal credit (UC) rules so that claimants can save more than £16,000 without it affecting their UC, so long as they put it in a Lifetime ISA to go towards a deposit on a house.
  • A review of the mortgage market to try and increase availability of low cost, low deposit finance such as 95% mortgages.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey said:

“For too many people the aspiration to own their home has been taken away. By turning benefits to bricks, we are opening the door to home ownership for those on the lowest incomes.

 “By removing barriers and allowing people on benefits to save into a Lifetime ISA, they will be incentivised to put aside a deposit to buy their home.

 “And we are also giving people the choice to use their benefit towards their mortgage rather than on rent that pays a buy-to-let landlord.”

Will these new ideas improve your life?  Vote in our poll and leave a comment to explain why you voted the way you did.

 

 You can read more about the government’s mortgage plans in their press release.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Alison B · 8 hours ago
    If the benefit Claimant passes all the hurdles to get a mortgage, will the government help them to get social housing if  they can't afford the outgoings that come with owning a home? Somehow I don't think so. 
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    Kazz · 1 days ago
    So they will help buy a house but won't help put food on the table!!! Rather twisted.. a future with your mortgaged home being taken from you, hike up the interest rates just as you think you are safe and then consider that home an asset perhaps.  Something radically wrong with this 
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    Sarah · 2 days ago
    Isn't this how the 2008 finacial crisis happened!? If you are on benefits especially housing benefit then you are most probably struggling financially. I also think this could be a very devisive issue once again giving a false impression that people on benefits have got it easy. I believe that the real issues that need addressing are, more social housing, fair rent caps, fairer tenancy agreements, for both social and private rented accomodation. For Councils, social housing, and private rent landlords to be held accountable for their properties, in regards to maintenance and good living standards. And of course good standard affordable houses for people to buy. I could go on for sometime if I had the energy, I have no idea what the government are thinking, I can only imagine they just are not.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    David L · 3 days ago
    The disconnection between the government and most people's idea of everyday reality seems to be evident in this ridiculous housing policy, that takes housing from those who really need it and condemns others to longterm crippling debt, when they are unable to keep up their mortgage payments.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    H · 5 days ago
    This happened in the USA and caused the financial crash in 2008/09. It was called Ninja mortgages and when claimants couldn't afford to pay their mortgages the debts were sold on to other financial institutions around the world. This caused some financial institutions to go bankrupt and people lost their homes. It's not a good idea and it will result in more social housing being unavailable to those that desperately need it.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mumtaz Rafiq · 9 days ago
    Claims change and people are treated by the DWP very inconsistently,  this will leave people in debt and unable to pay leading to houses being repossessed . A vicious cycle and one that will create more homeless ,evictions , struggling to make ends meet, if the government guarantees extra support for home owners then less homeless , people getting into rent / mortgage arrears. I don't think this is a good idea at all. 
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    Awebs57 · 10 days ago
    What about the ridiculous outdated benefits £6,000 saving rules it’s far out of date by 34 years old that benefit mortgage cannot meet the old DSS saving rules which it’s should be scrapped the old £6,000 it’s no longer safe that some claimant still have to pay £40 a week income tax if he or she has over £6,000 in saving. It is extremely too low in today benefits rate despite local council personal budget payment saving limit is between £23,000 to £25,000 per person & why this cannot be that new saving limit from the local authority with the state benefits system is not fair?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Pete · 8 days ago
      @Awebs57 I agree but it was £3k not £6k about 15 years ago. I've no idea what it was before it was £3k.

      Incidentally the limits are different for pensioners, I assume because governments have recognised that a pensioner is likely to have built up more savings than a younger person. Just odd how they seem to think someone in their 50s is likely to have similar savings to a teenager.

      I guess teenage toffs tend to be quite wealthy so that might explain it.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sisjen · 10 days ago
    This is a tactic for the upcoming elections, don't be fooled by their false promises, its all smoke and mirrors.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    T. Raj · 11 days ago
    Is this some kind of a joke? Obviously Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support would be stopped. How on earth someone on means tested benefits be able to pay mortgage, service charges, insurances, repair costs etc.? Are our law makers that hollow, even if they live in a parallel world?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    C Lloyd · 11 days ago
    I am paying more in rent than I would a mortgage. It’s a very good idea. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Somebody who cares · 12 days ago
    How can this work? Folk lose their mobility car due to slow reviews so will they also lose their homes too? Very worrying. As I am a widow and own my house sadly I cannot afford the re-wire that this old house needs. Plus other much needed repairs. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mim · 12 days ago
    mim

    Only includes those working on low incomes. +they need to look at the situation of those who have a mortgage+loose their job. The mortgage is often substantially lower than a private landlord and the gov is wasting money lining their pockets via the housing benefit system, rather than looking at decreasing their wasted money. I paid £73 mth for my mortgage, but loss of house would have meant housing benefit of £400 mth to pay for one bedroom bedsit (nb that was several decades ago in cheap area to live in). Even if time limited say 12-24mth while trying to get another job it’d be waay cheaper.

    People working and claiming housing benefit are doing so because they do not have enough income to pay for their needs otherwise they’d not be entitled…so how are they expected to save anything to help go towards mortgage?!! Their income is all accounted for!

    The same scenario applies if on UC. The fact you get it means you have no spare money! Especially as the rates are so low, landlords can be charging more than market rent, so claimants already having to pay top ups out of money meant for daily living costs. Plus the bedroom tax also takes money out of daily living money yet there are not the properties available to move to avoid bedroom tax.

    what about those entirely on benefits+the resulting inability to cover daily expenses especially when costs rise quicker than benefits. +that benefits payments do not have a contingency element for the inevitable breakdown of crucial items to live. Eg your cooker breaks completely and you have no option but to take a loan with excessive interest. Even loans from dwp then leave you with less money than daily living expenses when they take it back. +it’s well known household items have a limited life span eg washing machine is 5 years according to plumber!!!

    you cannot separate the housing benefit/mortgage situation from the whole benefit set up and inadequate support.

    this will increase the issue that we have created an ‘underclass’ and their exclusion will exacerbate this.

    the right to buy as it currently is dysfunctional as there is no like for like housing replacement. Someone buys the housing association property but it’s not replaced immediately with another, so you’re into minus property numbers. The private market is not much better as for decades developers have not built enough housing despite owning substantial areas that would allow need/demand to be met.

    Housing+planning system needs an overhaul. ‘Landbanking’ to try+increase it’s value+then sell on should be banned. If developers don’t start building on land within say 6-12mths they should be forced to sell that land. Especially where it’s been council land. This should never be sold without guarantees of building+properties that meet local needs, not building whatever the developers want to so they get insane profits. Profit is fine but currently it’s at a level of greed. +planning law currently favours developers.

    the proposal needs to address the current joke of ‘affordable’ housing. Otherwise it will still be impossible to buy. If I was offered a mortgage of three times the average wage in my area(which most jobs aren’t here), it’d give me about £40,000. The cheapest property of any kind is £100,000. The current levels of (non!) affordable housing planners have to put in needs to be upped+they should be banned from then claiming they cannot afford to do the development because they have to put in affordable housing. 4 in an estate of multiple hundreds of 4+5 bedrooms is hardly going to put a dint in profits. More greed.

    +dysfunction will continue while there is a link between business and political party funding of any party.

    Well done if you read it all, but this subject just makes my blood boil!😡


  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Carol Laidlaw · 12 days ago
    What mortgage provider is going to give a mortgage to someone on benefits? How are people on benefits going to be better off when they have to take on the whole cost of repairing and maintaining their house out of their benefits, as home owners have to do? What would make mine, and every other tenants' life better would be for the government to prioritise abolishing section 21 (the so-called 'no-fault' or 'revenge' eviction clause in the 1988 Housing Act) so that no landlord can ever again evict us on a whim, or because we asked for repairs to be done.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Pete · 12 days ago
      @Carol Laidlaw Most lenders consider benefit income (although often at 60% of income) but it can't be your sole source of income. 

      So plenty of people on benefits can get mortgages at the moment. This proposal will only make that easier as the housing benefit or the housing element of UC is excluded from these calculations.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Bean · 13 days ago
    These saving and house buying help schemes are not open to mature people who still do not have their own homes. I am in my 50's and never been in the position to buy but have been too old to benefit. There should not be an age cap on them. 

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      lesley · 12 days ago
      @Bean Dear Bean,
      You have a very good point there.  I am almost 75 now and although I would have loved to own my own home.  It's completely out of the question!! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Pete · 13 days ago
    Also housing benefit )or the housing element of UC) is clearly in their sights for cuts.

    This is the same party that set HB at the lower third percentile of local rents, brought in the bedroom tax, made the housing element of UC sanctionable and told under 35s they'd only eligible for the HB shared room rate forcing many to leave their stable homes.

    So yes, I get it. People have reason to be concerned, personally I would much rather have a mortgage (as long as it wasn't too big) and try and take control of my life than be subject to the whims of Tory ministers with an agenda.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Pete · 13 days ago
    I think people here make some very valid points and many are right to be concerned.

    However there is definitely a focus on social housing and the long term sick on benefits when this policy appears to be targeted more at those in private rented accommodation that are in work.

    Personally the biggest problem with it isn't the idea it's house prices and the crazy idea such people take out 95% mortgages which is a massive no no.

    It would be much better if Help to Buy was reformed and very favourable terms offered to such people. But again when house prices are so high and interest rates ok the rise, it's not a good time.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Onyewuchi Reginald Opara · 13 days ago
    After the next elections , the Tories will change the rules again. 
    This policy had not been thought through. Boris is trying to retain his Red wall seats which he won by lying about Brexit 
    look at what is happening with the Northern Ireland protocol which was oven ready 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sarah E · 14 days ago
    This is insane. The govt won't cover the full cost of any mortgages,  and benefits by definition are insecure and will fluctuate in response to Govt whims. And the new owners are suddenly responsible for all their repairs. 
    Plus -- will the Govt ensure that enough new houses are built to replace those sold out of the public sector? Absolutely not!
    A few years  ago a Tory politician (David Cameron?) said he was against social/council housing because it bred Labour voters! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sue · 14 days ago
    The fear for many lower paid and those very poor is losing their home regardless of rented or bought. Plus landlords in social housing have appalling customer service. The freedom and restraints from all this would be immensely rewarding in the emotional and mental well-being of tenants. Plus boost send esteem and confidence. When you think about, someone can be on benefits for many years and in that time a mortgage could have been paid, then it means less for the government/tax payer when that mortgage is paid up. Perhaps a clause that states if someone needs to go into a nursing home the house is sold to pay for the care. I feel there needs to some clauses as it’s not fair on the tax payer. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    J.McG · 14 days ago
    At the end of next month my mortgage will be paid off. Quite an achievement for someone who has been a carer and rarely had work that pays well. BUT I will be moving on before I start my state pension next year. I have managed to do small essential repairs but now after 33 years my house requires a new roof, rewiring and improvements to damp coursing. These things cost thousands, far in excess of the mortgage repayments I have managed on a slightly higher income while working. I see this new scheme as completely barmy! 

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