Is your household going to be at risk now mortgage support benefit has been axed?

The Government have axed the mortgage support benefit which has been provided to low income households since 1948. Support for mortgage interest (SMI) helps those on income related benefits (i.e. pension credit, income support and jobseekers allowance) pay the interest on their mortgage. The funds are sent directly from Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to the mortgage lender. According to the Government, there are about 124,000 people receiving SMI at a cost of £205 million a year to the taxpayers. Those in favour of the change argue that it’s not the taxpayer’s obligation to subsidise people’s mortgages when many of them struggle to afford the repayments on their own home. The change was announced in 2015 when the Government found the current set- up to be unsustainable and announced plans to stop paying SMI in April 2018. Instead of paying SMI, homeowners will be able to secure a state based loan against the mortgaged property. The loans will function much the same as the SMI but with interest being added every month to the total amount owed. The Government backed loan does not have to be paid back, although the homeowners can make voluntary repayments if they can afford to. If the property is inherited by someone else, they will be required to repay the loan from any extra available equity if/when the property is sold. If there isn’t enough equity to cover the cost of the loan, it will be written off. Almost half of those who receive SMI are of retirement age and many have interest only mortgages. There is a concern that this change may result in tens of thousands of people, many of whom are pensioners, ending up with two mortgages on their property. The DWP have countered this by saying; “Over time, someone’s house is likely to increase in value so it’s reasonable that anyone who has received financial help towards their mortgage should be asked to pay that back if there is available equity when the property is sold.” Greg May, Romans’ Financial Services Director explains; “Statutory sick pay is only £87.55 per week, with food, bills plus mortgage repayments to make, many households would struggle to get by on this income. In the run up to the removal of SMI, we have seen more interest around our income protection insurance products as homeowners, particularly those with families to support, want to safeguard their income should the worst occur.” If you are concerned about how this change could affect you and want to learn more about our income protection insurance, contact Romans on 0118 3219 536.

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Almost half of those who receive Support for Mortgage Interest are of retirement age and many have interest only mortgages.

Instead of receiving Support for Mortgage Interest, homeowners will be able to secure a state based loan against the mortgaged property.

Plasdŵr, Cardiff’s Garden City, which is currently under construction, has been shortlisted for a prestigious UK design award. The masterplan for the 900-acre site in the north west of the capital was submitted by planning and design consultancy, Pegasus Group, who worked with lead developer Redrow Homes to create it. Shortlisted in the national Planning Awards Design Excellence category by an expert panel for how it will improve local, educational and leisure facilities as well as supporting 30,000 jobs during construction and beyond. Its future contribution to higher use of public transport was recognised by the panel as well as providing £73 million in wider community benefits. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Savoy Place, central London on 6th June. Plasdŵr, which takes its design inspiration from the original garden city movements principles of “fresh air, sunlight, breathing and playing room”, balances open space, which will make up 40% of the whole site, with infrastructure, social space and homes, all to be completed to the highest standards of quality, design and finish. Construction started in March 2017 and will continue for the next 15-20 years. Wayne Rees, project director, said: “Placemaking, high quality design and the wider contribution to Cardiff’s community and its economic growth is what Plasdŵr is all about. To have that recognised by some of the UK’s leading planning and design experts is not just good news for the garden city, but also for our capital city.

“This shortlisting recognises that Plasdŵr is not just another housing development. We are creating sustainable a community that is key to the future viability and growth of Cardiff, playing a part in meeting the city’s current and future housing and community needs.” Ed Turner, design director at Pegasus, says: “Everyone likes to have their work recognised, but to be shortlisted for these national awards is especially satisfying. We are one of only three non-London projects shortlisted for Design Excellence.” With up to 7,000 homes planned over the site bordering Radyr, Fairwater, Pentrebane and St Fagans, Plasdŵr is identified in Cardiff’s Local Development Plan as key to the city’s economic growth. It will have four distinct centres of individual character, each with a central square and primary school. There will also be a secondary school, shops, offices, health and leisure centres, pubs and restaurants. Currently, work is underway on the first phase of Plasdŵr at Llantrisant Road and Pentrebane Road in St Fagans and the first residents have already moved in.

New Homes Wales and the South West

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