Fury as housing minister John Healey says loss of home can be 'best thing'
The housing minister provoked fury yesterday after he suggested that the "best thing" for some struggling families would be to have their homes repossessed.
John Healey was speaking as new figures showed numbers of evictions have reached their highest level for 14 years. A total of 46,000 householders lost their homes last year.
Mr Healey's comments came in a radio interview when he was asked why repossession numbers were so high.
He replied: "In some cases it is the best thing for the people who are struggling with these mortgages."
The minister added: "Sometimes it is impossible for people to maintain the mortgage commitments they've got... it may be the best thing in those circumstances."
Last night, Grant Shapps, the Conservative housing minister, called on Mr Healey to apologise to families who had lost their homes during the recession. He said: "This proves once again that Labour ministers have completely lost touch with reality."
Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat housing spokeswoman, said: "These comments are grossly insensitive to families booted out of their home. If this is John Healey's best response to record repossession figures then he should just shut up."
Campbell Robb, the chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: "Behind each one of these numbers is a heartbreaking story of a family losing their home and having to rebuild their lives."
The repossession figures, published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, were lower than the original forecast that 75,000 families would lose their home during the year. But they still represented an increase of 15 per cent on 2008. More than 188,000 homeowners were also at least 2.5 per cent behind in mortgage repayments.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Tommy Ramone dies: Last surviving founder and drummer seminal punk band The Ramones dies aged 62
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...