Housing Minister John Healey has today extended free advice for families facing the threat of
repossession, with an extra £4m to ensure this vital lifeline continues into the New
The Government funding will go to debt advice agencies, as well as 80 court desks across the
The services have proved their worth: 36,000 cases have been seen by the court desks over the past
year, and more than 100,000 households have benefited from free advice on managing their debts from
charities and councils.
Services offering free advice and representation in court have helped stop repossession in four out
of five cases making use of their service, supported by extra Government funding to ensure help is
available in county courts across England.
The decision comes as pressures on repossessions are forecast to continue throughout 2010. The
Government has decided to act ahead of the repossession risk next year by extending the help
Over the last year, over 330,000 homeowners have received help and advice with their mortgages.
New figures from the Financial Services Authority published today show there were 13,987
repossessions between July and September - five per cent less than at the beginning of the
Repossessions are running at half the rate of the last recession, and the Council of Mortgage
Lenders has reduced their repossession forecasts for this year by well over a third - from 75,000
Mr Healey said: "To ensure lenders follow the tough rules put in place, a new checklist was
introduced earlier this year so lenders must prove they have exhausted every possible option before
seeking court action.
"But I also remain concerned that a disproportionate number of repossession cases come from
specialist lenders. That is why it's vital that the FSA's tougher regulations for lenders are
introduced as quickly as possible - to ensure all borrowers are treated with the same tolerance and
understanding, regardless of who their lender is. These measures combined will ensure that in all
cases, repossession remains the last resort."