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- Massive Aviva redundancies tip of the iceberg of potential winter of discontent

OVERSTRETCHED homeowners must take steps to protect themselves if they are to avoid becoming yet another statistic of mortgage payment defaulters, warns

Figures released this week by charity Citizens Advice* show just how many people are struggling to meet their borrowing commitments and are putting their major acquisition – their home – on the line.

“This alarming news flags up the growing number of people who are putting themselves at risk in order to get a toehold on the property ladder, with young people being particularly vulnerable,” said managing director Shane Craig. “It’s a sad reflection of the ‘live now pay later’ culture which looks like it’s starting to take its toll on the nation.”

Crucially, this begs the question of how they would cope if they were no longer working due to sickness or involuntary unemployment. Latest jobless figures back up this concern, with the number of people out of work now standing at 1.7 million, up 93,000 on the quarter and 280,000 over the year**.

Pressure to spend, spend, spend and acquire the trappings of modern living is leading many young people down the dark alley of financial disaster. Even if they are aware of mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI), the costs charged by high street lenders could deter them from taking out a policy in favour of being able to support the cost of their lifestyle.

“MPPI can provide a lifeline for homeowners who have no savings to fall back on, should the worst happen,” said Craig. “This is particularly true for first time buyers as they struggle to afford house prices that continue to outstrip salaries.”'s MPPI policies cover both mortgages and secured loans and start at only £3.70 per £100 monthly benefit for full Accident, Sickness & Unemployment (ASU) or just £2.25 for Accident & Sickness (AS) only, regardless of age or occupation. Borrowers can also get a great deal with’s unique Free-4-All policy which offers four months’ free cover to both new and existing borrowers at just £3.95 for ASU or £2.35 for AS.

“Whilst the debate about responsible lending strategies - or lack of - trundles on, borrowers need to remember that lenders are out to make money,” added Craig.