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Rochdale Liberal Democrats

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Rowen questions Prime Minister over repossessions

June 9, 2009 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul RowenRochdale MP Paul Rowen has questioned the Prime Minister over repossessions after figures obtained by Mr Rowen have revealed that nearly 1,000 homes in Greater Manchester have been repossessed in the first quarter of this year.

Mr Rowen, speaking at Prime Minister's Questions this week, asked the Prime Minister about the Government's much-publicised schemes to help those suffering under the recession.

Figures show that between January and March 2008 mortgage lenders launched 400 repossession actions in county courts- up 32 per cent in the same period of 2007.

Paul asked the Prime Minister: "With over 50,000 homeowners facing repossession this year, if the Government is doing so much to help them why have only 2 people been helped?"

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, responded by saying,

"Thousands of people are being helped by the payment scheme. The Mortgage Income Support scheme for those people who are unemployed, which is now available to those with houses worth under £200,000 and large numbers of people are claiming that.

The second is the moratorium that is available for people on their building society and bank payments, which we have negotiated with building societies

There third is the shared equity scheme where we are prepared to buy a share of the house to help people move forward and discussions on that are moving forward, large numbers of people.

And the fourth is the measures we are taking to deal with the way the banks approach mortgages in the first place.

I have to tell him, that the recent proposal from the Council of Mortgage Lenders said that they expected repossessions to be far less than what they were predicting as a result of the action that we are taking.

Any repossession is to be regretted. There are many circumstances in which repossessions happen, an example is a family break-up which is nothing to do with the financial situation of an employee. But there are other situations where it is caused by the lack of money. We are trying to help those people to maintain their mortgages and re-negotiate them and I think you'll find no Government has done more to help mortgage payers to prevent repossession and that is what, that is what, a Labour Government is about. We will not walk by on the other side."

n response, Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said: "Every time the Government makes an announcement on repossessions, it seems to end up helping very few families at all. Recent figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders have shown that the number of house repossessions in the UK has risen to 12,800 in the first three months of the year. We warned the Government to expect up to 50,000 repossessions this year but Gordon Brown dismissed us. We now have charities such as Shelter expressing concern at these new figures stating that they paint a very depressing picture of the future."

Paul added: "Under this Government repossessions have become the easy option for banks desperate to reduce their mortgage book. What we need is a new code of practice for mortgage lenders to ensure a property is only repossessed as a last resort. The Government needs to be doing more to protect the thousands of families whose homes are at risk, many of which are in Rochdale."