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From: The Socialist issue 559, 3 December 2008: Fight back now against job cuts

Search site for keywords: Repossessions - Mortgage - Housing - Banks - Socialist - Socialist Party

More homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments

Stop the repossessions

At least 5,000 homes a week are being put up for sale as the owners can no longer afford their mortgage. This year, the number of repossessions is already 70% higher than in 2007. As average home values fall at a rate of 78 a day, many more people are scared they will have to sell their home or be repossessed. This includes Barbara, a tertiary-sector worker in Enfield who spoke to The Socialist:

"I've worked really hard to keep my house, to have a family home, but there comes a point when it's out of control.

As my children have left home, I can't get any assistance for the mortgage. Since they went I haven't got tax credit or child benefit, so basically I can't afford a mortgage anymore. It would be very scary to have to put it on the market at the moment, because everyone knows how hard it would be to sell.

I was on a limited life tracker mortgage. When the bank rate dropped to 3%, I got a letter at the end of October to tell me the tracker mortgage will end at the end of December - which means my interest rate will go up. Then three days later I received a letter saying that from 1 December there'd be a considerable cut in the mortgage rate - and that would've helped me a lot. So for one month only I've got the reduced payment then it's going to go back up to above what I'm paying now.

I could end up in a position where I have to sell it or it could be repossessed - the stress and the anxiety of this are not good, constantly having to patch up the funds. My only option to keep the house - and perhaps pass it on to my kids - is to take lodgers, which I am doing, but it isn't an easy thing to do.

If I lose my job, then even having lodgers' rental income wouldn't cover the mortgage and the bills, or give me any kind of life. Every bit of my work income goes on the mortgage and bills, so the only other money I have is rental income, and I use that for food, my daily life, etc.

Fuel bills

I've had a bit of a battle with the gas company over bills. I'm 186 in credit but they haven't yet cut my monthly Direct Debit.

Now I don't even look at clothes shops, I don't look at any luxury items. I haven't bought anything that might be regarded as an extra for about three months now.

I don't think people should lose their homes. You can't help but draw the comparison of people getting their houses repossessed and bankers getting bailed out.

I wouldn't mind at all if I was put into a social housing association with affordable rent to replace the mortgage as then I'd feel secure, and security is something you can't pay for really, especially when you're poor."

The Socialist Party demands:

  • No repossessions! Homeowners who cannot meet their mortgage repayments should be offered financial assistance, mortgage breaks etc, and the option of converting their mortgage to an affordable social rent.
  • For a crash building programme to address the social housing waiting list.
  • Stop the bribery! For all council homes to get needed maintenance work, without having to be privatised or put into 'arm's length management'.
  • Kick out the fat cats. For all social housing to be publicly owned with democratic accountability.
  • Open the books! Let elected representatives of finance workers, trade unions and residents, as well as government, see where the banks' money is going.
  • Nationalise the banks, building societies and other mortgage lenders, to be run under democratic workers' control. This should not be to bail out the bankers, but to provide low interest mortgages and other loans, and to stop repossessions.

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