The long awaited Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme starts today and is estimated to provide around £1 billion of support to homeowners in an attempt to avoid anyone losing their home who has ‘demonstrated a willingness to pay’.

The scheme was due to start in January and has come undeer criticism due to the low number of mortgage lenders who have signed up so far and the delays in getting started.

The HMS scheme will allow those with mortgages to defer 70 per cent of the interest on their mortgage repayments for up to two years.  When initially discussed last year, it was expected to offer 100 per cent interest deferral but details now released show it will be 70 per cent of interest, homeowners must have paid five consecutive monthly mortgage payments and be on a mortgage of up to £400,000.

A government spokesperson said:

“{from today{.. borrowers who suffer a temporary loss of income will be able to apply to major high street lenders to cut their mortgage interest payments for up to two years to help them get back on track with their finances.  For example, the scheme could benefit a household who have had working hours reduced or overtime cut, or perhaps had two incomes and are now relying on one pay packet at the moment.”

Eight key mortgage lenders are said to have signed up with others expected to sign shortly.

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