John Denham MP has discovered huge variations in repossession rates in Hampshire, with residents in Southampton significantly more likely to suffer than in any neighbouring authority. Mr Denham wants the government to take practical action to relieve the pressure on hard-pressed households.
A report released by the UK homeless charity Shelter outlines that last year there was a higher rate of housing repossessions in Southampton than in all its neighbouring local authorities.
* In 2011/12, there were 260 repossessions in our city, which is a rate of 3.32% for every 1,000 homes. In Winchester, the rate is 1.94%, which is one of the lowest repossession rates in the country.
* With living costs and energy bills rising, more and more people are finding it hard to get by on a day to day basis. Shelter’s Chief Executive has warned that “the journey from being a homeowner to becoming homeless can be frighteningly swift”, noting that cuts to wages, health problems or job losses can cause families great difficulty in meeting their mortgage payments.
* There are occasions when families have become homeless as a result of their house being repossessed. As Britain’s housing crisis deepens, more and more families are facing the tragedy of homelessness. Labour turned round the rising tide of homelessness we saw in the 80s, but we are now in danger of seeing a similar crisis develop under this Tory-led Government.
The worrying rate of repossessions in urban areas of Hampshire and of the South Coast region requires urgent Government action.
Mr Denham said: “The number of housing repossessions in Southampton is deeply troubling, as is the huge variations we are seeing across Hampshire. A problem is emerging in urban areas such as Southampton, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth, and we need to ask why so many repossessions are taking place.
“I believe the heart of the problem can be found in rising fuel bills and living costs. What we need is for the David Cameron and George Osborne to deal with these issues head on, but instead they’ve raised VAT and created a double-dip recession.”
If you’re worried about your house being repossessed, you can contact Shelter on their free helpline: 0808 800 4444Other news from Southampton Labour