I put the following press release out today on hearing the news about the mounting repossessions being carried out by Northern Rock. We called for action at the early stage of the crisis to halt repossessions and to protect people in their homes by converting mortgages to social rents. I listened to assurances from both Gordon Brown and Yvette Cooper that action would be taken. Nothing appears to have happened and repossessions are rapidly rising. There is a real sense of tragic irony that taxpayers have bailed out the banks only to be evicted from their homes by the very banks that they now own!
Given the significant increase in unemployment I am calling on the Government to bring forward urgently a recession proofing programme to protect people's homes, jobs and pensions. Today's unemployment figures are bad but it should be remembered that each recent set of unemployment figures has had to be revised upwards because the staff cuts imposed by the Government on job centres means that there aren't enough staff left to keep up with the number of unemployed claiming.
Is the Government's bank the most ruthless repossessor?
It was announced today that Northern Rock - the bank fully nationalised by the Government - has massively increased the number of homes it has repossessed in the last quarter.John McDonnell MP, LEAP Chair, said:"We fully nationalised Northern Rock, yet the Government's bank is becoming the most ruthless repossessor under the cosh of Government pressure to repay the loans. The Government is in danger of being seen as protecting banks while ignoring people."The Government needs to come up fast with a "recession-proof" strategy of halting repossessions and converting mortgages into homes for social rent."With unemployment rising, the Government should be injecting resources to save people's jobs and that means large scale public investment in major housing, rail and renewable energy infrastructure schemes."