Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Repossession advice levels double

Home sold signs
The number of people seeking advice has risen sharply

The percentage of Citizens Advice Bureau clients in south west Scotland seeking advice over home repossession has doubled in the past year.

The organisation estimates about 20% of people using the service in Dumfries and Galloway in the last 12 months have been struggling to pay their mortgage.

That is compared with a rate of less than 10% the previous year.

Recent figures show Citizens Advice had more than 1,300 clients in the region with total debts of nearly 22.5m.

Debt advisers are concerned by the figures which they say are likely to continue to rise amid current economic problems.

Money advice specialist Christine Sinclair said the issue was one which affected growing numbers of people.

'Asset at risk'

"We are seeing an increase in the number of homeowners who, even if they are actually able to meet their mortgage payments, are struggling to pay other debts," she said.

"Because they are homeowners they have got an asset at risk.

"It is becoming more and more difficult for people."

However, she stressed that there was help available for people who feared losing their homes.

"One thing that is of benefit to people in Scotland is that there is a debt arrangement scheme," she said.

"It allows people to repay their debts and - provided they keep to their arrangements - creditors are prevented from taking any action which puts their house at risk."

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