Drop in arrears is ‘calm before the storm’ says CAB

The Citizens Advice Bureau says the drop in the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ arrears figures is the “calm before the storm”.

The CAB has received over 25,000 arrears problems in Q2 2010 but expects the number to increase with looming public sector cuts.

The CML reports that the number of repossessions has dropped from 9,800 in Q1 2010 to 9,400 in Q2, compared to 11,800 in Q2 2009.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of the Citizens Advice Bureau, says: “While it is good news that numbers are down, is still worrying that 9,400 households have been repossessed and others are still struggling to meet their payments.

“Therefore it is crucial that further measures are put in place now in preparation. Both lender forbearance and the current package of policy measures have made a real impact to ensure people aren’t losing their homes unnecessarily.

“We are urging lenders to continue to treat people in arrears fairly and we are calling on the government to maintain the mortgage rescue scheme and existing help towards mortgage interest payments for those who have lost their jobs.”

She says that debt advice for homeowners should remain a funding priority as the CAB estimates that free legal advice can prevent 85% of immediate repossessions.

Guy adds: “It would also be a timely opportunity to introduce a statutory debt management plan to ensure that people in arrears are able to pay their debts according to priority, not who is shouting the loudest which can make the difference between keeping or losing a home.