News In Focus
More help for homeowners facing repossession
The Scottish Government has responded to pressure to support homeowners facing eviction for mortgage default, by funding more legal advice and representation for people taken to court.
£3 million will be provided over the next two years to enhance services such as the in-court advice service in the sheriff courts, as well as services provided by local solicitors, advice agencies or solicitors employed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
The Government had been criticised for not supporting householders to the same extent as in England & Wales, where free legal advice is available and a pre-action protocol lays down procedures to be followed before lenders resort to court action.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Government had adopted a number of measures to help families cope with the current financial downturn. These included publicising the National Debtline (0808 808 4000), an improved mortgage to rent scheme, and a new mortgage to shared equity option, which will be introduced in early 2009.
She added: "We are concentrating our efforts on taking action that will make a tangible difference to those facing repossession, such as extending and developing help with legal advice.
"Unlike other parts of the UK, we already have in place a comprehensive support package for homeowners facing repossession through the mortgage to rent scheme, and we are determined to do more."