Saturday, 27 March 2010

Repossession Prevention

I've just signed an agreement for the credit union to manage loans from the Mortgage Respossession Prevention Scheme. It's an interesting example of how government initiatives filter down...

About two years ago, when the recession was still a credit crunch, someone in government thought 'people may be having problems paying their mortgage, what can we do to help them?' So about a year ago, Northumberland CC got about £76k from Government with the guidance 'use this to bung an interest-free loan to anyone having problems with their mortgage (or rent)'

And now - after a lot of effort to make the thing practical, we've got a three-way arrangement: NCC provides the money, CABx money advisors assess and authorise applicants, the credit union lends the money from the NCC pot and manages the loan. So if you want an interest-free loan of up to £5000 over five years to help with your mortgage or rent payments - this is for you.

But - the people who come to the CABx for debt advice are usually in more trouble than that, and wouldn't be able to repay such a loan. So how to get the message out to people with temporary problems who will be able to repay such a loan, and keep up with the mortgage payments in the future?

A nice-sounding idea from Government - but not really thought through, but we'll do our best to make it work

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cars: The future is electric?

Massive investment in developing a network 11,000 plug-in points for electric cars across the current! And the North East is officially the Low Carbon Region with responsibility for developing electric cars in this country. Hat's off to the marketing people at Nissan Sunderland.

And we're getting hundreds of plug-in points in the North East too - not only in the Tyne & Wear conurbation, but a whole series strung along Hadrians Wall.

So yes - electric vehicles are quieter and cause less pollution on the roads, but there's the rub. Until we get electricity generation sorted out - with the right mix of low carbon renewable energy - electric cars will just increase carbon emissions at the power stations. And if our power grid is creaking now - how can it possibly take the strain of the extra demand from hundreds of thousands of electric cars.

No - I'm afraid electric cars may be another form of greenwash, from people scared to admit even to themselves the scale of change needed to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020, let alone 80% by 2050. I rather think we need start planning to massively reduce the need to travel - and that goes for freight transport too.

Or - if we are going for electric cars, then we need a low carbon generating network first.