Monday, 9 January 2012

Lib Dems propose low interest repair loans to keep vulnerable families in their homes

Next Tuesday sees another regular full council meeting - the time when all 123 members get together to discuss key issues of policy and budget. It's the time when we have the chance to quiz all the cabinet members as well as to put forward ideas about how to make life better for local residents.

For next week's meeting, the Liberal Democrats are putting forward a motion in favour of a low interest loan scheme for householders who are on a low income and facing large bills for repairing their home.

It's always better for people to be kept in their homes rather than moving into social housing. Not only is it cheaper for the council, but it is less disruptive for families and it doesn't deprive another family on the waiting list of their place in the queue.

But there are some families on low incomes who are facing huge bills for repairing their homes - perhaps for a new roof or to deal with dry rot. If they cannot afford to pay for the work then they are at risk of becoming a burden on the council. Introducing a low interest loan scheme will help them to afford the repairs and to keep them in their home.

Such a scheme could be introduced without costing council taxpayers anything - the loans would be low interest, but still enough to cover the cost to the council of borrowing. In addition, they would require a charge against the property - like a mortgage - so that in the even of a default the council would get its money back.

I hope that this scheme will be seen by all councillors as a good way to save money for the authority and to keep families in their homes.

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