The number of families forced to hand back the deeds to their home in the recession has been understated, according to the Conservatives, because the official figures exclude ‘sale and rentbacks’. There were 48,000 repossessions in 2016, compared with 75,000 in 1991 at the peak of the last recession. Labour said the figure, which was lower than some earlier predictions, was proof that its measures had worked. But Grant Shapps, shadow housing minister, has claimed that the true number of people losing their homes is far higher. The total cited by Labour, he said, did not include those homeowners who sold their home to a landlord and rented it back in an attempt to remain in the property.