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Mortgage prisoners ‘drowning’ under financial pressures

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09/03/2020
The mortgage prisoner situation has reached a “crisis point” according to campaign groups, with borrowers “drowning” under financial pressures and suffering severe health impacts.

Tens of thousands of so-called mortgage prisoners are stuck paying higher levels of interest because they no longer meet affordability measures for a new and cheaper deal.

In some cases, borrowers are paying interest rates above seven per cent.

In an open letter to the government, lead campaigner for the Mortgage Prisoner Action Group, Rachel Neale said more mortgage prisoners are approaching her in “dire circumstances”, with some even feeling suicidal.

She said around 10 people a day every day contact her, as some of the lenders have become more aggressive.

The campaign group is stepping into financially help people who have been pushed to the brink.

Neale said she hears “no offers of help” from chancellor Rishi Sunak or economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen.

Last week outgoing Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey said the government was not keen on changing financial regulations to help mortgage prisoners.

And a letter from Glen highlighted that new proposals to help the group would only be considered if they met three strict guidelines.

‘Vulture funds before people’

In a letter calling to the government to help, Neale wrote: “We are a group drowning under the financial pressure you have stowed upon us from your choices in putting banks and vulture funds before your own people.

“You have left a situation to rot for over a decade were more mental health sets in, and debt builds up for these people.

“This week in your broken society we have had calls from people wanting to genuinely kill themselves over the basics in life, unable to heat their home, buy food for their children or send them to school on your public transport caused by an inflated mortgage payment that impacts every aspect of life.”

Neale also said she found comments made by Glen regarding mortgage prisoners as insulting and disrespectful.

She urged the government to “stop talking” and find “real solutions” instead of using red tape and legislation as an “excuse for inaction”.

Neale also asked for mortgages to stop being sold to unregulated investors, who she described as “vultures”.

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