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Opposition parties call for Government action on repossessions

12 November 2008

Opposition parties at Holyrood are coming together to demand more action from the Scottish Government to protect homeowners from repossessions by mortgage lenders.

The Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Independent MSP Margo MacDonald have joined Labour in calling demand for ministers to pursue a pre-action protocol such as that adopted in England & Wales, aimed at trying to ensure that repossession of homes is taken as a last resort.

Cathy Jamieson, shadow health secretary, said the Scottish Government needed to act so that home-owners in Scotland had the same protection. Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Ross Finnie said that experienced solicitors acting for homeowners had made it clear that the protocol gave English homeowners more protection.

Govan Law Centre has claimed that lenders in Scotland are quick to use the threat of repossession actions when borrowers fall into arrears, and that borrowers often fail to qualify for legal aid, whereas assistance is available south of the border.

However, the Scottish Government said it did not believe that Scottish homeowners were disadvantaged and that the protocol did not change the legal position or add to the court's options in disposing of a case.

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