To help people who may be threatened with repossession, we have put in place advice and support at every stage of the process—from free debt advice when they first get into trouble, to free legal advice and representation should their case end up in court.
I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. The claimant count in Halton for May was up 88 per cent. on this time last year; we have almost the worst unemployment rate in the north-west. Is it not therefore essential that when the Government give help to people to remain in their homes, or help with social housing, areas such as mine, which are suffering much more than others, get priority?
We are trying to do two things. First, we want to ensure that there is support for everyone, wherever they are, who may run into problems. Secondly, given the unemployment pressures in my hon. Friend’s constituency, he will welcome our changes to support for mortgage interest, which have doubled the capital limit and shortened the period for which people have to wait for that support. I am sure that he will also welcome the money that has gone through his local authority towards debt advice, as well as help in the courts. At no stage, including when the case comes to court, is a repossession a foregone conclusion.