Homes repossessions soar

THERE has been a massive increase in the number of homes facing repossession in Suffolk and Essex in the last five years, new figures reveal.

Anthony Bond

THERE has been a massive increase in the number of homes facing repossession in Suffolk and Essex in the last five years, new figures reveal.

In Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, the number of mortgage possession orders issued by county courts have almost doubled. There have also been huge increases in north Essex, with orders in Colchester nearly trebling.

The figures were released by the Ministry of Justice after West Suffolk MP Richard Spring requested the information in Parliament.

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He said he knew from the number of his constituents who were going to see him that there had been an increase over the years.

Asked what he thought the reasons for the increase were, he said: “Because there is rising unemployment and people are very stretched and have over-borrowed and they are not always very sympathetically treated by lending institutions.

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“I think we need to know what the extent of the problem is and once that is done it is a matter for Government to make it known to lending institutions that they need to treat each case sympathetically.

“Many banks do not have individual mangers locally, they have individuals in Birmingham or Manchester working in call centres so they cannot adapt to local situations and it is quite wrong.”

The figures show that the number of orders issued in Ipswich increased from 224 in 2004 to 421 in 2008. In Bury St Edmunds there was an increase from 124 to 263 last year.

However, one of the biggest rises was in Colchester which saw an increase from 385 in 2004 to 1,009 last year.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The Government has taken decisive action to support homeowners and protect vulnerable families from the threat of repossession.

“Homeowners facing mortgage repayment problems can benefit from the introduction of a number of schemes. These include the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme which enables eligible borrowers to reduce their monthly mortgage interest payments to affordable levels for up to two years to help them get back on track with their finances if they suffer a temporary loss of income.

“There is also the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme, where duty legal advisers are available to anyone - regardless of income - who has a hearing listed in court on that day.

“We urge households at risk to talk to their lenders and seek advice as soon as possible.”

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Bury St Edmunds 124 191 220 235 263

Chelmsford 226 355 381 382 484

Colchester 385 542 695 778 1,009

Ipswich 224 287 358 328 421

Lowestoft 197 297 284 286 388

East of England 4647 7058 8421 8212 10,334

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