Scots living in fear of house repossession


ONE in ten Scots homeowners is living under the threat of having their house repossessed.

Research by housing charity Shelter has found that for 275,000 mortgaged households in Scotland, even the smallest change in cost of living could force homeowners to give up their homes.

And one in three Scottish homeowners is living with the

“constant worry’ of how to pay their mortgage.

Shelter is currently staffing phone lines to deal with a surge in calls from families who fear they are going to lose their homes.

Christine Quigg, 49, from Greenock, was forced to leave her job in education and training after suffering from several brain haemorrhages and a stroke.

Now she and her nine-year-old daughter rely solely on the income of her husband, a railway signalling engineer.

Mrs Quigg said:

“It’s about as close to the bone as you can possibly get. If something changed, like an increase in interest rates, it would make a big difference.

“I don’t know what might happen then. In a worst-case scenario, you could lose your home. “

Keith Brown, minister for housing and transport, said:

“These shocking statistics put into sharp focus the consequences of the economic recession and the scale and pace of Westminster’s spending cuts and welfare changes, which have hurt many Scots, putting family homes and families at risk. “

Holyrood recently introduced the Home Owner and Debtor Protection Act which is designed to make it more difficult for homes to be repossessed.

Mr Brown added:

“We have also helped bolster household income in Scotland by implementing measures such as the council tax freeze.

“But if we had more powers, we could do more. These statistics provide further proof of the urgent need to enhance the taxation, spending and borrowing responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament. “

Gordon MacRae, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said:

“The taxpayer is going to have to foot the bill for thousands of people becoming homeless.

“We are gearing up for a perfect storm. Wages have been frozen, household bills are up, food is up and mortgages are costing that little bit more.

“More and more people are worried about how they are going to put a roof over their family’s head.

“This is not just people who have experienced forms of crisis throughout their lives, but a new demographic of potentially homeless people who have never missed a rent or mortgage payment.

“Everything has gone up in price while the average wage has not increased.

“Unless something changes soon, more people are facing the very real prospect of losing their home. “

As part of the study Shelter surveyed 1037 households in 55 constituencies across Scotland.