- Possession claims in the first quarter of 2008 were 38,688, 7% more than in the last quarter of 2007. The rise over the last year was 16%.
- 27,530 mortgage possession orders were made on a seasonally adjusted basis, 17% higher than in the first quarter of 2007 and 9% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2007.
- 47% of mortgage possession orders were suspended compared to 47% in the first quarter of 2007 and 46% in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Caroline Flint and the Chancellor announced a £10 million package of measure to ‘support homeowners facing difficulties with their mortgage’.
This package includes measures to ensure that financial advice and support is available for borrowers who may need it and includes an additional £9 million extra funding for face-to-face debt advice provided by third sector partners including Citizens Advice Bureau.
Let us unpick this a little. That is £9 million over three years, so £3 million a year to ‘third sector partners’. Citizens Advice claims advice is provided at 3000 locations, so, if equally distributed, that is £1000 per location. Of course, it won’t be equally distributed – some will be used centrally or for training and I would be surprised if certain bureaux weren’t targeted, particularly those that run Court advice, but it doesn’t actually look like much.
The other £1 million (over three years!) is presumably to fund the other promises:
- expanded access to free legal representation at county courts throughout England for households at risk of repossession;
- strengthened National Housing Advice Service to provide a new comprehensive debt advice service
builds on the services already in place, backed by £560 million Government investment, such as face to face debt and financial advice, a national debt helpline, homelessness prevention work by every council, legal aid, and financial support for low income households who may face short-term difficulties in repaying their mortgage.