Alarm grows after news that government's £280m mortgage rescue scheme has helped just six households

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable has called repossession a ticking time bomb after it emerged that just six families had been helped by the government's £280m mortgage rescue scheme.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “The numbers of repossessions are likely to soar in the next two years because of rising unemployment. Temporary government schemes are deferring the problem, not solving it.”

And he warned: “If interest rates start to rise next year, the problem will become even more severe.”

Around 1,000 homeowners are being evicted every week, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, with repossessions hitting 12,800 in the first three months of the year, 50% up from this time last year.

The government is understood to have established a new team to fast-track the cases of those most at risk of repossession.