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Thousands at risk of losing homes

Thousands of people are at risk of losing their homes, research has shown.

Nearly one out of every 100 households in the UK faces the threat of eviction by a landlord or mortgage lender, according to a report by homelessness charity Shelter.

The top 12 local authorities with the highest risk rates are all in London boroughs. Barking and Dagenham top the list, followed by Newham and Haringey.

Outside London, Manchester, Slough and Peterborough have the highest eviction risk rates.

Shelter said the research showed areas with high unemployment were the worst affected. Unemployment stands at 8.3%, the highest rate since 1996.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "As Christmas approaches, this research paints a frightening picture of thousands of families living every day with the fear of losing their home hanging over their heads.

"It's sobering to see that so many communities are blighted by the risk of eviction. Shelter research shows that a third of people are already struggling with their housing costs or falling behind on payments.

"In these unforgiving conditions, it only takes one thing - illness, job loss or relationship breakdown - to lead to things spiralling out of control and into homelessness. This Christmas, we're asking people to help us stop lives from being torn apart by homelessness."

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: "The Government is taking a series of steps to prevent repossessions. We are providing £400 million of funding for homeless prevention of which Shelter is a notable recipient, investing £200 million in the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, and keeping interest rates down by tackling the deficit inherited from the last Administration."

The figures are based on an analysis of government statistics by Shelter. A previous YouGov survey of 2,118 Britons analysed rates of possession claims issued by private and social landlords and mortgage lenders.

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