Measures to revive the dormant housing market by increasing the supply of mortgage lending are being planned by ministers.

Alistair Darling is poised to intervene to help banks and building societies to secure more finance to grant new mortgages. The likely move comes after the virtual drying-up last year of the mortgage-backed securities market, which had become a crucial source of mortgage lending.

New figures yesterday indicated that house prices were continuing to tumble, with home buying activity having sunk to the lowest levels for four decades.

The Chancellor is expected to order an extension of the Bank of England's emergency £50bn special liquidity scheme introduced this year to help to ease intense funding strains on banks triggered by the credit crisis.

The Times