WIGAN is one of the country’s worst home-repossession black spots, a survey has revealed.
New research by commercial experts found that there were 541 borough families who had lost the roof over their heads after defaulting on mortgage payments in the year ending June.
It places Wigan – with 4.2 per cent of owner-occupier households per 1,000 getting into difficulties – FIFTH worst nationwide, behind Chester, Blackpool, Romford and Oldham.
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue said that the results of the survey would come as “no surprise” to young people, working parents and pensioners across the borough.
While leader of the council Lord Smith said that the survey demonstrated that the economic recovery is only really benefitting London and the South East.
Wigan, like the rest of the north, was continuing to struggle, he said.
The figures show that the north-south divide in home repossessions is the widest it has been since 1997, with four of the UK’s worst hot spots in the North West.
Surveyors e.surv’s specialists had looked at figures provided by the Ministry of Justice for court ordered repossessions along with the company’s own data.
In the North West overall, eight out of 10 towns (more than 79 per cent) had above the UK average number of repossessions.
Lancaster, Liverpool and Carlisle were the only towns in the north west to have lower than the average number of repossessions.
Director of e.surv Richard Sexton said: “Many borrowers have seen their finances slowly eroded by high inflation and rising living costs.
“But in regions such as the North West, wages are recovering more slowly and there are fewer jobs on offer.
“As a region, the north has traditionally depended on public sector jobs, but a squeeze in public sector funding has led to a loss of jobs for many and very low pay increases for others.
“Pay increases that are consistently below the rate of inflation have further tighten household budgets and cause many to fall behind on mortgage payments.”
Ms Fovargue said: “Savage cuts to our local council, a slow to recover private sector and families hit by a cost of living crisis as prices rise faster than wages in 39 of the last 40 months demonstrate that Wigan is facing the brunt of Government cuts.”
“This is not a chance happening but a deliberate choice by David Cameron and George Osborne to target northern towns.
“They show a complete lack of understanding for our area and the impact of their policies.”
Lord Smith added: “Families are squeezed by rising prices and flat wages. The recent round of energy price increases will have many in Wigan wondering how they can afford to keep warm this winter. If the government really cared they should help and not make the situation worse.”