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Tackling mortgage repossessions: the Scottish approach

This one-day Shelter conference, held in Edinburgh on 3 November 2009, gave delegates the opportunity to discuss the recommendations of the Scottish Government’s Repossessions Group and the current Home Owner and Debtor Protection Bill.

Plenary session 1: The mortgage possession problem in Scotland

Adrian Stalker, Advocate and Chair of the Repossessions Group, chaired the event and the first plenary session set the scene, outlining the mortgage possession problem in Scotland. Graeme Brown, Director, Shelter Scotland, gave the first presentation, emphasising Shelter’s experiences of how repossession affects individuals and families and how the process needs to be changed. He referred to Shelter Scotland's evidence on the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill in his speech.

Graeme was followed by Kennedy Foster, Policy Consultant Scotland, Council of Mortgage Lenders, who talked about how lenders currently address problems with struggling home-owners and the effectiveness of recent changes in policy and practice. You can download Kennedy Foster's presentation here:

Tackling mortgage repossessions: the Scottish approach
Kennedy Foster, Council of Mortgage Lenders

Plenary session 2: From problems to solutions

The second session looked at different ways of tackling mortgage possessions in Scotland. Alex Neil MSP, Minister for Housing and Communities, talked about the package of measures accepted by the Scottish Government following the Working Group’s recommendations and the measures set out in the Bill. The Minister was followed by two members of the Working Group, Mark Higgins and Yvonne MacDermid, giving different perspectives on how the Group’s recommendations compare with the aims of the Bill. You can download their presentations here:

Minister's speech
Alex Neil MSP, Minister for Housing and Communities

The Home Owner and Debtor Protection Bill
Mark Higgins, Partner, Irwin Mitchell

From problems to solutions
Yvonne MacDermid, Money Advice Scotland

Plenary session 3: From policy to practice

The third session looked at how changes proposed by the Home Owner and Debtor Protection Bill will work in practice. There were two paired sessions, with the first one focusing on how the advice sector needs to respond. The speakers in this session were Colin Lancaster, Director of Policy and Development, Scottish Legal Aid Board and Anne Feeney, Lead Strategic Champion, Financial Inclusion Champions Team for Scotland. You can download their presentations here:

From policy to practice: the role of advice
Colin Lancaster, Scottish Legal Aid Board

From policy to practice
Anne Feeney, Financial Inclusion Champions Team for Scotland

During the second part of the session Sarah O’ Neill, Head of Policy, Consumer Focus Scotland, looked at the Bill from the perspective of consumers and Linda Banks, Finance & Investment Manager, Paragon Housing Association talked about the Association’s experience of the one of the options open to those at risk of repossession, Mortgage to Rent (MTR):

What will the Home Owner and Debtor Protection Bill mean for borrowers in practice?
Sarah O’ Neill, Consumer Focus Scotland

MTR – a practitioners view
Linda Banks, Paragon Housing Association

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