Repossession, Repossession, Repossession

ITV’s new program Repossession, Repossession, Repossession focuses appropriately on people whose lives have been turned upside down by debt in the most dramatic fashion by the loss of their homes.

Following the lives of a family, a glamour model, a gambler and most interestingly Jamie an ambulance driver, it attempts to explain how these people got into a mountains of debt. Although the program lays some blame on banks and financial instituitions, it still focuses on individuals ‘spending sprees’ as the real reason their homes repossesed.

As Gary Hoffman, group vice-chairman of Barclays, rather checkily explains: “People binge eat, they binge drink, sometimes they spend, sometimes they binge borrow and what I encourage, what Barclays encourage, is for customers to talk to us when they have a problem.”

This from a man whose bank has lent millions pounds to those on low-comes and made a large fortune out credit card repayments.

The biggest question in this program should not be why are people are spending so much more than they earn? Or have people become too greedy? But why are public sectors workers like Jamie, who carry out essential services such as driving ambulances, earning so little they rely on debt to get by?

When will there be a program asking vice-chairs of Banks why they ran up so much debt they require billions of pounds of government bail outs?

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4 thoughts on “Repossession, Repossession, Repossession

  1. Just found this comment on the ITV website thought it was really important discussion of this show.

  2. sorry forgot to add the comment.

    ‘I am one of the people featured in the film working at the Citizens Advice Bureau as a Debt Caseworker. I was disgusted with the television programme because, from the stories of the people featured, it gave the impression that large numbers of people in debt are there because they are financing extravagant lifestyles through credit. I assure you that is not the case. The vast majority of clients I see are in debt because they are trying to live on restricted incomes and there is a change in circumstances. For example, a person with a mortgage who loses their job, a family who experiences bereavement or severe long term illness. Most of the people I see are people who were managing their credit commitments until a particular event crippled their ability to pay. I have never seen a model or a person with racehorses. I have also seen numerous cases of people with long term illness on incapabity benefit or with mental health problems being lent large sums of money well beyond their ability to pay despite telling the lender they are on incapacity benefit or income support and some with questionable ability to understand the contracts they enter into. This is clearly irresponsible lending. To be honest, the smug tone of much of the posts is really irritating. The programme gave a completely unreal picture of the majority of debt clients and fed prejudices against those in debt. I am dismayed to be featured in it. Debt, out of control, can happen to any of us, any time. Life experiences can take all of us by surprise, bear that in mind next time you sign a credit agreement.’

  3. These comments are absolutely right. Programmes such as this, that try to lay the problems of debt on personal irresponsibility entirely fail to grasp why the current events are taking place. Is it really that case that across the globe, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the refusal of banks to lend to each other, the on-coming credit card crisis and all the other economic ramifications can really be blamed on a huge number of models and gamblers that have somehow taken over the economy?!

    Perhaps more likely, the blame can be laid at the feet of a financial system that tried to make profits out of lending to the poorest people in their countries in order to try and compensate for the lack of profitability in the rest of the economy. Furthermore, if wages hadn’t been held down consistently for the last number of years (despite huge economic growth and profits for the banks!) then people wouldn’t have been forced into the mess they are now.

  4. Totally agree with the last poster.

    The whole discussion seems to miss the point in terms of indebtedness. Why would anyone voluntarily enter into a contract where someone else gets to keep a large portion of their future pay?

    It seems rational to me that the only answer is ‘because their current wages are insufficient to live on’.

    And another thing: Why when Darling announces massive bail outs for the financial sector, does he not underwrite borrowers? The effect is the same, stimulus of credit uptake, but if you underwrite borrowers instead of banks, then they will not be subject to seizure of property if they can’t pay.

    Objections?

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