Derek has tabled a Written Question in Parliament to ministers on government support for mortgage interest, as new research from Shelter reveals that Halton is among the local authority areas with the highest proportion of homeowners at risk of repossession.
New research by the national housing and homeless charity has identified Halton as coming 22nd out of 324 local authorities in England for risk of repossession. This has prompted Derek to ask the Work & Pensions Secretary, former Conservative Leader Iain Duncan Smith, "when he expects to announce his decision on whether support for mortagage interest, including the current capital limit and waiting period, will be retained beyond January 2012?"
"We know that losing your home is a devastating experience few of us ever expect to face. But the high costs of living, rates of unemployment and rising mortgage costs face by many of my constituents as a result of the Tory-led Government's harsh and unfair austerity cuts means that many fellow Halton residents are living close to the edge, and risk falling into a spiral of debt and repossession. That is why I have asked Mr Duncan Smith to spell out specifically what the Government will do to help families struggling with mortgage interest payments. I look forward to receiving his Department's response by the end of the week.
I have learnt that there are major cuts taking place in the number of debt counsellors at the local Citizens Advice Bureau; they are down from 12 in 2010 and could be as low as 5 by next year after the legal aid reforms come in. This is a massive blow to families who rely on professional debt advice at this very difficult economic time of struggling to make ends meet.
A Shelter spokesperson said;
"Mortgages are the single largest monthly expense for many homeowners. At a time when so much attention is being given to the rising cost of essentials such as food and energy, it is vital that housing costs are given as much consideration by political leaders to stop more people having to go through the nightmare of losing their home."