Don't Deny Those in Shared Ownership Schemes PPI

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News that nearly 700,000 people are on waiting lists for affordable housing in rural England underlines the importance of not only building and making available more homes for an increasing number unable to get on the property ladder, but serves as a reminder to insurers that they must offer products to help those in shared ownership schemes keep their long-awaited homes, says PPI lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess from Burgesses.

Sara-Ann Burgess, MD Burgesses

We know more people are opting for and waiting for the opportunity to take part in shared ownership schemes, so insurers must recognise this and introduce products that meet their needs. Those with fewer savings, who are often more financially vulnerable, should have access to products that will help them keep their homes should they lose their jobs.

News that nearly 700,000 people are on waiting lists for affordable housing in rural England underlines the importance of not only building and making available more homes for an increasing number unable to get on the property ladder, but serves as a reminder to insurers that they must offer products to help those in shared ownership schemes keep their long-awaited homes, says PPI lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess from Burgesses.

She comments: "We've heard this week that over the last five years, the number of people waiting for an affordable home in country areas has risen by 37% - up from 507,757 in 2003 to 695,735 last year. In certain areas, around 11% of the local population are on a waiting list for affordable homes and it's reported that some people would have to borrow up to 24 times their annual income to get a mortgage.

"It's no surprise to find demand for part-buy and part-rent schemes spiralling out of control and the Government must move quickly to address this. However, what worries me is that when more properties are available and people move into their homes, they have very little in the way of Payment Protection Insurance to protect their financial commitments and payout should accident, sickness or unemployment occur."

Only one independent provider, British Insurance, offers Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance for households involved in shared ownership schemes and with the dynamics of the home ownership market dramatically changing, there are calls for other insurers to follow suit and become more socially responsible.

Sara-Ann continues: "We know more people are opting for and waiting for the opportunity to take part in shared ownership schemes, so insurers must recognise this and introduce products that meet their needs. Those with fewer savings, who are often more financially vulnerable, should have access to products that will help them keep their homes should they lose their jobs."

According to the National Housing Federation, 70,000 new affordable homes are needed in England each year to meet existing and future requirements. The NHF, in conjunction with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, recently launched a Charter - Save Rural England, Build Affordable Houses - to kick-start the Government into more proactively addressing the needs of those on lower incomes in rural areas who will never be able to meet the lending criteria for mortgages.

Sara-Ann concludes: "As well as a Charter to ensure all areas of the UK have access to more affordable housing, I'd like to see a Charter that ensures all householders across the UK have access to a wider range of Payment Protection Insurance products. In the same way, those in rural areas are being denied access to affordable homes; those in shared ownership schemes are being denied access to a financial safety net."

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