New research by the New Local Government Network (NLGN) urges councils to take a more proactive approach in helping homeowners who are struggling with debt, meaning that they are facing repossession or eviction from their own homes.

The report shows that councils could help by offering whole or partial mortgages at below the market rate. The NLGN believe that this would help to keep people in their homes so that they can hopefully avoid unnecessary pressure on social housing, which is where many evicted families end up. This action needs to happen sooner rather than later as mortgage lenders expect approximately 45,000 homes to be repossessed in 2008, a yearly increase of more than 20,000.

Anthony Brand, the reports author, said that the “Government should set £2 billion of its £50 billion intervention package aside for supporting these measures, and allowing the hardest hit councils to apply for funding. This could help up to 15,000 people out of difficulty and even provide a long-term profit to the Treasury.”