UK Government

Communities and Local Government: Healey praises key role of debt advice for homeowners

News   •   Dec 04, 2009 11:11 GMT

Housing Minister John Healey has today thanked some of the 110 staff at Birmingham’s National Debtline, working to provide advice and support to help homeowners avoid repossession during the downturn.

During his visit to Birmingham, Mr Healey saw for himself the important work of the National Debtline, a free phone number available for anyone with financial worries to call for advice.  Each day, the National Debtline receives around 1,600 calls, with each call lasting an average 17 minutes.

Advertisements directing people to the National Debtline and the Government’s website, www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp, have appeared in ‘hotspots’ across the country – identified as having a greater risk of repossession due to higher levels of unemployment and court orders for repossessions.

During his visit to the National Debtline’s offices in Birmingham, Mr Healey met advisers, and was able to hear a selection of the calls they received.

He said:

"I wanted to see for myself the important work that the National Debtline in Birmingham is doing to provide much-needed advice and support to help struggling families to avoid losing their home.

"This is a key part of the comprehensive range of support the Government has put in place to help homeowners avoid repossession, which has helped over 330,000 people since April last year.

"I would urge anyone facing mortgage difficulties not to stick their head in the sand, but to contact the National Debtline or visit our website to get free, impartial advice so they can take control and keep their home."

Chief Executive of National Debtline, Paul Mullins, said:

"We are delighted that the Minister has been able to visit our Birmingham offices. We have seen a continued rise in demand for advice from people with mortgage arrears and we believe that this Christmas will be our busiest on record.

"Over the last two quarters, the number of callers who are behind with their mortgage payments has risen by over 15% and we are delighted to be part of Community and Local Government's campaign to help prevent repossessions.

"For many people, being in debt can be a terrifying experience and it is vital that people know that high quality, impartial debt advice is available for free from the third sector."

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