Coronavirus: some assistance

Amongst the measures introduced by the UK Government to assist people in these difficult times is the morgage holiday. Introduced first in March to assist both individuals and businesses, it proposed mortgage lenders should give a three month payment holiday to those clients who required it. The Government reports that 1.8million morgagee payment holidays were taken up.

HM Treasury has now proposed that in order to further assist mortgagors and “to give people the certainty they need, they will be contacted by their lender to discuss a way forward. Where consumers can afford to re-start morgage payments, it is in their best interest to do so. However, if people are still struggling and need help, a full extension of the morgage holiday for a further three months will be available as one of the options open to them.” The current lender ban on repossession of residential property will, it is proposed also continue until 31 October, 2020. This will, no doubt, be welcomed by those who face life with a reduction in their income and, in particular, those poor souls who presently have no or very little income at all.

Consultation on these proposals finished on 26 May and the Finance Conduct Authority expects to finalise its guidance to mortgagees “shortly afterwards”.

The independent consumer body ‘Which?’ has been championing the cause for consumers since 1957 and has an on-line publication entitled “Coronavirus what it means for mortgages, credit cards, loans and savings”. It is well worth a read considering, as it does, not just loan holidays but some Government concessions re withdrawal of savings. For instance, Which? says “The latest move comes from the Treasury which has announced it has lowered the withdrawal penalty on lifetime Isas from 25% to 20% to help those who need to access their savings during the coronavirus crisis.”

We are all living through strange and very difficult times but at least some assistance is available to those in need of it.

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