Wednesday 26 July 2017

Noonan’s mortgage promise: We'll tackle crisis in 3 weeks

Brian Hutton

The Government has vowed to tackle the spiralling mortgage crisis – just as soon as it gets a report on the issue. Finance minister Michael Noonan dismissed speculation there would be no action on rising home loan arrears until the Budget in December.

Proposals from a group of government officials and banking representatives were on course to be handed to the coalition in three weeks' time, he said.



Mr Noonan said he could not pre-empt that report, but insisted the government would act urgently on it.



"When the government gets its head around this report we will be taking policy decisions," he said.



But he again dismissed any prospect of a wide-ranging debt forgiveness scheme - or partial write-off of mortgage debt for anybody not making repayments.



Mr Noonan said that could "open the floodgates" for people who did not really need the help but instead saw such a scheme as an opportunity.



"Banks have been capitalised to cover bad debts for years, but that's not to say they have a pool of money to throw around in an ad hoc measure," he said.



Mr Noonan said there had to be a distinction made between those who could not pay and those who would not pay.



While there were people in dreadful circumstances, a wide ranging debt forgiveness scheme was neither realistic nor possible, he added.



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