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Support for Mortgage Interest

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL8131, tabled on 25 May 2023

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of Support for Mortgage Interest in the light of rising interest rates.

Answered on

7 June 2023

The rate of SMI we pay is based on the Bank of England average published rate and recently increased from 2.09% to 2.65% in May 2023. Any further changes will occur when the average differs by 0.5 percentage points or more from the rate in payment.

SMI is intended to provide reasonable support by making a contribution towards mortgage interest to protect claimants against the threat of repossession.

To support low-income mortgage borrowers with rising interest rates, from April 2023, we extended the support SMI provides by allowing those on Universal Credit to apply for a loan after three months, instead of nine. We also abolished the earnings rule to allow claimants to continue receiving support while in work and on Universal Credit.

For those who need additional support the Government is providing an additional £1 billion of funding, including Barnett impact, to enable a further extension to the Household Support Fund in England over the 2023/24 financial year. In England, this scheme will be backed by £842 million, running from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, which local authorities will use to help households with the cost of essentials. It will be for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their additional Barnett funding.