Dozens more property repossession claims in Wigan during the summer

Housing charity Shelter has accused the Government of ignoring an unfolding “crisis” in the rental market, where prices are rising rapidly, after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt‘s autumn statement revealed little help for private tenants.

Ministry of Justice data shows 87 claims to repossess properties in Wigan were lodged by mortgage lenders and landlords between July and September.

Of those, 28 were for homes owned by mortgage-holders, while the rest were to evict tenants.

The number of repossessions in Wigan is rising

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It means there were 25 more claims in the latest quarter than over the same period in 2021, when 62 were submitted.

However, there were still fewer bids to remove people from their homes than in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic – 191 claims were lodged between July and September that year.

The figures also show that tenants were evicted from their homes in Wigan on 27 occasions – putting them among the 5,400 tenant evictions across England and Wales – while there were seven bailiff-enforced home repossessions.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “There is a housing hole in this budget – housing benefit remains frozen at 2020 levels when private rents have been rising at record rates.

“Increasing universal credit will really help people struggling to pay their food and fuel bills, but crucially it doesn’t cover rents which are most people’s biggest outgoing.

“Unless housing benefit is increased, the shortfall with real rents will only grow – swallowing up other benefit increases. The boost to benefits will be built on quicksand.”

Ms Neate said a planned increase to the benefit cap is a “glimmer of hope” for vulnerable families, but added: “The Government’s refusal to unfreeze housing benefit ignores the rental crisis that is unfolding, and means that homelessness will continue to rise this winter.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hunt said he would “monitor carefully” the situation around mortgage repossessions, after Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged the Chancellor to come back with a “package of measures” to get people through the housing crisis.

“I’ve already had a number of discussions internally in the Treasury and as necessary, I’ll come back to this House with further measures.” Mr Hunt said.