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Holes in the net

The social security safety net that has protected mortgage-holders who fell on hard times was removed at the beginning of this month. In the past, mortgage-holders who were made redundant or lost their jobs because of sickness or accident could immediately apply for help from the Department of Social Security.

The state would pay up to 50 per cent of the monthly interest charge on their loan for the first 16 weeks. After that time the full interest charge was met by the DSS.

But from October 1 the DSS will wait six months before taking over the full costs of the loan. Mortgage-holders will receive no help for two months and only 50 per cent of their interest charges will be met during the next four months.

Those taking out new mortgages or remortgaging their properties from the beginning of this month will be in an even worse position, however.

They will receive no state support for nine months. And even after that time they will only be helped with the first Pounds 100,000 of any mortgage.

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