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HOMEOWNERS struggling to pay hefty improvement bills for their former council houses are being encouraged to register for a new loan scheme.

Housing chiefs have brought forward the introduction of the loans in the hope they will remove the threat of legal action faced by owners who can’t pay.

The loans, administered by Communities Scotland and Glasgow City Council, may also help others spread the cost of communal work to mainly flatted properties.

A new hotline has already been set up to take the names of those wishing to apply.

Bosses hope the cash will be made available in coming weeks.

As reported in the Evening Times, hundreds of owners face charges of up to £6000 after Glasgow Housing Association speeded up a city-wide improvement programme.

GHA demanded homeowners pay their share of the money in full within one year – leaving some people facing legal action over unpaid bills.

However, last month Communities Scotland threw homeowners a lifeline when they announced the loans.

The city council today confirmed applications for loans from those facing court action will be prioritised and said it was likely payments could be spread over a longer period.

Though details are yet to be finalised, it is thought the loans will be offered at a lower interest rate than from banks and applicants will be given impartial financial advice.

People can register their interest on 0141 287 8482 or 0141 287 8490.

Housing groups welcomed the move.

Sean Clerkin, of the Glasgow Save Our Homes campaign, said: “GHA should suspend all court action against those unable to pay.”

Les Campbell, director of finance for GHA, said: “We would hope the scheme will help owners to pay their share of the cost of improvement works on time.”

10:27am Wednesday 4th April 2007

By Marianne Taylor

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