Stephen Williams - working hard for Bristol West

Shocking increase in house repossessions in Bristol - Stephen Williams MP

1.54.39pm GMT Fri 4th Nov 2005

Latest government figures show a huge rise in the number of mortgage possession procedures issued in the county courts. The picture in Bristol is even worse than the national average.

Nationally, the number of possession actions entered into in the three months to September 2005 rose to 29,991, up from 19,359 from the same period in 2004 - a rise of 55%. While in Bristol the number rose from 226 to 387, an increase of 71%.

The number of orders made in the three months to September 2005 rose to 19,687 from 11,682 - a 66% jump. Bristol contributed towards this figure with a rise of just under 30%.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats shows that these figures mean that in England and Wales a repossession order is made every seven minutes and an action is entered into every four minutes.

Commenting on the figures Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West said "These figures are very disturbing. While they are at low levels compared to the early 1990's there are clearly big problems ahead. Banks and building societies need to ensure that when individuals take out mortgages they are fully aware of the risks that are involved and of the relevant insurance products. At long last the Chancellor has now accepted there is a bubble in the housing market. Now he needs to recognise that for many homeowners it is sadly bursting and that he needs to take action.

"These figures demonstrate the complete absence of an adequate safety net in the mortgage market. The government needs to urgently look at the payment protection insurance markets, as products are often over-priced and contain too many exemptions."

Further information:

1) Figures for repossession orders are sourced from the Department of Constitutional Affairs and are available at:

Figures for suspended orders and orders made are combined as both entail the mortgage lender being granted possession of the property.

2) A brief explanation of the three categories set out in the DCA figures:

• Actions Entered. A claimant begins an action for an order for possession of residential property by way of a summons in a county court.

• Orders Made. The court, following a judicial hearing, may grant an order for possession immediately. This entitles the claimant to apply for a warrant to have the defendant evicted. However, even where a warrant for possession is issued, the parties can still negotiate a compromise to prevent eviction.

• Suspended Orders. Frequently, the court grants the mortgage lender possession but suspends the operation of the order. Provided the defendant complies with the terms of the suspension, which usually requires the defendant to pay the current mortgage instalments plus some of the accrued arrears, the possession order cannot be enforced.

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Next news story: Stephen Williams MP demands pensions justice for women and carers (Mon 7th Nov 2005).

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