Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Credit crunch 'worst is to come'

For sale signs
The number of housing repossessions have risen in the county

Oxfordshire is not yet feeling the worst of the economic slowdown, council officials have warned.

Gillian Greaves, head of housing for Cherwell District Council, said figures for repossessions were lower than the national average.

But she warned that the real effects might only be seen in a year's time.

She said the real problems might not involve mortgages people had with large banks, but smaller loans which had been secured on the home.

In October last year there were 8,000 people jobless - 6,500 more than the previous year.

Almost 200 jobs are set to go at Prodrive in Banbury and major cuts have been announced at Aston Martin, Honda and with the closure of Woolworths.

'Take action'

While housing repossessions are not yet matching the rates seen in other parts of the country they are on the increase.

Between April and June last year more than 500 houses were repossessed, compared with just over 300 in the same period in 2007.

Ms Greaves said the best answer for people with financial problems was to take action quickly.

"There are lots of places to get support - local council, Citizens Advice Bureau. Anyone who thinks they could run into trouble should get help fast."



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