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More homeowners 'to be given mortgage payments help'

The government is to expand the number of people who can receive state aid with their mortgage payments.Ministers announced yesterday that those who lose their jobs and struggle with repayments can also expect a greatly reduced time before which they can receive the assistance.This period has been reduced by around two thirds, to 13 days.The move follows the publication of comments from the prime minister in an interview with the Observer newspaper.Gordon Brown said that the government would do "everything in our power to stop repossessions".Commenting on the latest policy, work and pensions secretary James Purnell said that the government "[wanted] to make [repossession] the greatest last resort it possibly can be".Homeowners have been put under pressure recently from the continuing effects of the credit crunch and financial downturn.The crisis has led to a reduction in the number of cheap mortgage deals available on the market - and to increasing unemployment.

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