One of numerous things the Tories are doing that have received little media attention is a hard kick aimed at mortgage-payers who lose their job.
Up to this month, people with a mortgage who become unemployed receive SMI – ‘Support for Mortgage Interest’ to help them not to fall behind on mortgage payments. It’s a limited benefit, paid on up to £200,000 of mortgage debt (£100k for pension credit recipients), only covers the interest portion of mortgage repayments – and doesn’t begin until 39 weeks after a claimant applies for unemployment benefit, so managing for almost the first ten months of unemployment is left to the person who has lost their job.
But now the government is piling even more of a burden on people already hit hard by losing their job:.
Labour MP Kate Green asked a written question about the government’s plans for SMI, which was answered by DWP minister Caroline Dinenage:
As Dinenage’s answer and the government’s summary page show, any new claimants applying now will not receive SMI. Instead they will receive a loan to cover their interest payments. That loan will accrue to the value of their home and will have to be repaid when the home is sold.
And it will be interest-bearing, so they will have to pay interest on a loan to pay interest – currently set at a significant 2.6%.
The change also applies to claimants of income-related ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) = people with a disability or long-term illness.
For the moment, only new claimants are affected by this change – but as Dinenage confirms, from 6 April next year it will be imposed on all claimants.
The Tories are set on removing any actual support from vulnerable people and turning it into loans. The UK is becoming a country where compassion and humanity are replaced by usury – all so that corporations and the rich can enjoy lower taxes.
It’s not only dementia and old age the government want to tax. They’re now going to tax you for scraping to buy a home and daring to lose your job.
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