A package of measures to bolster beleaguered homeowners will be announced today in a sign of growing government alarm about the fall-out from the housing slowdown. Financial Times

Official figures are expected to show a surge in repossessions today as rising mortgage costs make it difficult for more people to hold on to their homes.

Caroline Flint, housing minister, will announce the expansion of free legal representation at county courts to help those at risk of losing their homes. At present, this advice – which helps people avoid immediate repossession – is only available to about 60% of the population.

Separately Alistair Darling, chancellor, held talks yesterday with the six big retail banks in which he urged them to provide better support and information to borrowers. The Treasury will today announce an extra £9m for the Citizens Advice Bureaux to provide specific debt advice.

The measures may be decried in some quarters as too little and too late to stem the flow of bad news emanating from the housing market.