Monday, 10 November 2008

Action needed to protect families from unscrupulous lenders and bailiffs

Giles McNeill warns that new Government laws will put family homes at threat

Homes across Lincolnshire are at threat of seizure by unscrupulous lenders or invasion by aggressive bailiffs, Giles McNeill, prospective conservative candidate for Lincolnshire County Council, Nettleham & Saxilby Division, warned today. At a time when families are struggling to manage their debts, the Government is weakening the rules which protect family homes.

• New powers for bailiffs break into your home: Labour Ministers are changing the law to allow bailiffs the legal right to break into family homes to collect civil debts. These new provisions will permit bailiffs to use ‘reasonable force’ to enter homes, such as knocking down a door or smashing a window, to collect debts such as missed credit card bills, an unpaid parking fine or TV licence fee. Conservatives have pledged to reverse these new laws, which undo common law rights and liberties dating back centuries.

• Family homes at risk from unscrupulous lenders: Conservatives are also pledging to stop the small print of another Labour law. The Government is making it easier for lenders to get a ‘charging order’ against a borrower’s home. A charging order gives lenders a legal stake in the borrower’s home, even if the missed payments are an unsecured debt.

• Need for more protection against forced sales: Conservatives are calling for new rules to prevent families from losing their homes as a result of missing credit card bills or other unsecured loans: We do not believe families should be forced to sell their homes to repay relatively small debts. That is why we are proposing new rules to prevent anyone from being forced to sell their home to repay unsecured debts of less than £25,000.

Giles said:
“Borrowers must be responsible for their debts, but I am alarmed that the Government is to allow unscrupulous lenders to force families to out of their homes for small sums, such as missing credit card payments.

“It is even worse that Ministers are to give bailiffs new powers literally to break down the door of family homes to collect debts, such as an unpaid parking ticket or TV licence.

“At a time when so many families are suffering from a soaring cost of living and an economy built on debt, it would be wrong in principle and in practice to impose these new state powers. We must protect Lincolnshire’s families in these difficult economic times, and we need a greater sense of social responsibility from the Government and lenders towards those who are struggling to make ends meet.”