Government mortgage plan helps just one family Support scheme also faces criticism

30 April 2009

The government's £200 million mortgage rescue scheme, which aims to prevent the most vulnerable people from having their home repossessed, has so far helped just one family.

Government figures on the scheme, which was set up to enable those in difficulty to sell all or part of their property to a registered social landlord, have shown that despite 284 households applying to take part in the scheme during January and February and a further 168 applying last month, only one household has so far been helped by it.

Mortgage difficulties

The scheme, which the government has said should help 6,000 people over two years, was first announced in September last year and was launched on January 15.

The figures showed that a total of 1,104 households approached local authorities about mortgage difficulties during March, of which 407 were deemed to be in a priority need category because they had young children or were elderly or infirm.

The scheme is part of a package of measures put in place by the government to try to help people stay in their homes if they run into problems paying their mortgage.

A government spokesman said: 'It is important to remember that mortgage rescue is just one of the levels of protection we have put in place for households.'

The government expects more families to be helped as the applications are processed. Around 450 families are currently being considered for help.

Too long

Another measure,  the homeowner mortgage support scheme, under which people who lose some of their income can defer a portion of their interest payments for up to two years, has also been criticised for taking too long to set up. The scheme, first announced in December, only became available to homeowners with certain lenders this month. 

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has estimated that repossessions will soar to 75,000 this year, up from 40,000 last year, itself the highest figure for 12 years. 

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