Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 16:32 UK

Help is unveiled for homeowners

The government said it cannot ignore the impact of the credit crunch

The Scottish Government has unveiled measures aimed at helping homeowners struggling as a result of the worldwide credit crunch.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the setting up of a 25m Homeowners' Support Fund.

It is designed to help people who are at risk of having their homes repossessed.

In a statement to MSPs, she also announced 250m expansion of shared equity schemes.

Ms Sturgeon said these would be particularly aimed at first time buyers.

She also confirmed plans to end right to buy on new social housing.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We recognise the significant effort and sacrifice that people have made to buy their own home, and although the credit crunch will not deflect us from the long-term goal of increasing the supply of new housing, we cannot ignore its impact.

"The 25m Homeowners' Support Fund will help those who cannot obtain help from elsewhere to remain in their homes."

She confirmed a goal of increasing the rate of house building to 35,000 new houses a year by the middle of the next decade.

Affordable housing

The housing charity Shelter welcomed the statement, but added that in the long run the measures "must not be a replacement for increased investment in affordable housing".

James Jopling, head of campaigns at Shelter Scotland, said: "When you're forced to stretch yourself financially to buy a home, you're more vulnerable to falling off the housing ladder.

"This is why we must strive, at the same time as preventing homelessness, to ensure housing in Scotland is affordable.

"We will continue to face problems unless we ensure a good supply of affordable rented homes, which is why the government must also step up efforts to increase the numbers available in Scotland."

Scottish house prices rise again
15 May 08 |  Scotland
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19 May 08 |  Business
Up to 60,000 'face repossession'
04 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Debt time bomb over repossessions
30 Mar 08 |  Business
More mortgage deals are withdrawn
02 Apr 08 |  Business
Thousands face home repossession
31 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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