Growing numbers of people have been seeking advice on mortgage arrears this year and requests could spike in 2022, according to research.

Queries to Citizen Advice Scotland (CAS) increased by 38 per cent between July and September 2021, compared to the previous year.

In this period, the network provided more than 600 pieces of advice in relation to mortgage arrears.

CAS now fears that demand for this type of advice could grow in 2022 as Covid protection measures such as furlough and mortgage payment holidays end.

At the same time, the cost of living has been increasing through rising inflation and energy prices, and stagnant or falling incomes.

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This is leaving some unable to pay their mortgage installments. 

CAS social justice senior policy officer, Aoife Deery, said: “The growing demand for mortgage arrears advice is concerning, and we want to help people access all the help they can.

“Mortgage-holders who claimed Universal Credit during the pandemic can only get help with housing costs nine months after they first start their claim. 

“We expect this has contributed considerably to the increasing number of queries about mortgage arrears.

“There is a real risk that this number could grow as people face the end of payment protections, rising prices in the shops, and soaring energy bills alongside stagnant or falling incomes. 

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“Following the Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates, some mortgage-holders may also see their monthly repayments rise.

“People who are struggling with money should understand they aren’t on their own – the Citizens Advice network is here to help. 

“Lenders legally have to treat you fairly and consider any request you make to change the way you pay your mortgage. 

“They are expected to do everything they can to come to a payment arrangement and repossessing your home should be the last resort.

“People can check our advice online or speak to their local CAB in the New Year. The CAB network helped over 171,000 people during the pandemic, unlocking around £147million in the process.”