Government drive to tackle repossessions

Nia Williams

January 27, 2010

In a major extension of the campaign to promote the free help and advice available, the Minister announced a new advertising drive and local mortgage help events in 56 repossession hotspot areas. And he also announced local promotion of a special helpline and website in an additional 30 hotspot areas with high risk of repossession.

Over 330,000 households have had help and advice with their mortgages over the past year, and repossessions are currently running at nearly half the rate of the last recession.

But with the pressure on families likely to remain high throughout 2010, starting this week the Government is working with the Citizens Advice service to run a string of local help events in 56 repossession ‘hotspots’, so that struggling homeowners can get impartial face-to-face help and advice to keep their home. New radio and local press advertising in all 56 areas will also promote the free telephone advice line and special website to help homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments.

The mortgage help awareness events, which will be held in public areas such as supermarkets and high-streets, will offer on-the-spot advice to local families. The first events will take place in Birmingham, Peterborough and Salford – anyone wishing to visit an advice event in their area should contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau.

And to ensure that as many families as possible get the help they need, Mr Healey has today confirmed that a further 30 hotspot areas will be targeted in a new advertising drive across the country, highlighting the comprehensive range of support available for struggling homeowners.

From today, new advertisements will be played on the local airwaves encouraging listeners in all 86 hotspot areas to visit the Government’s repossessions help website at www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp. Homeowners will also see advertisements in their local and national press pointing to this and the National Debtline’s free advice line on 0808 808 4000.

Councils in the 86 hotspot areas will also receive a £2m boost to the Preventing Repossessions Fund, which means councils can help struggling homeowners tackle their arrears and get back on top of their finances.

John Healey said: “With the pressure on homeowners set to continue this year, I’m determined that they get the help they need.

“That’s why I’m extending our campaign so families across the country can get the free, impartial advice they need online, on the phone or on the high street. And it’s why I’m boosting councils’ coffers in the high risk areas so they can ensure people get the individual, flexible support they may need.

“The comprehensive range of Government help available – and tougher rules on lenders – will mean that repossessions remain the last resort.”

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