INTRODUCTION TO CORONAVIRUS FORUM

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    These are uncertain times indeed. As mortgage prisoners, we all know the devastating impact of living in severe financial hardship for many years. We know the stress and strains that come with having to find the costs of paying crippling rates for our mortgages every month,  and the consequences if we don’t. Earlier this year we compiled a report to the Financial Conduct Authority which details the day to effect of being a mortgage prisoner, and the impact on our mental and physical health. Heart attacks, strokes, suicide (contemplation and actual) were some of the stark realities revealed for many of our members. However, we have been exploited and ignored for over a decade, first by the government and subsequently by the inactive and/or unregulated vultures they sold us to. We have been campaigning for change for many years, most notably since the release of the Panorama Programme, ‘Trapped by by Mortgage‘, which aired in October 2018. During the general election, Boris Johnson was asked by Martin Lewis, CEO of Money Saving Expert, what he intended to do about the mortgage prisoner situation if his party was re-elected. This is what he was asked, and what he said:

    ML: The Government bailed out the banks during the financial crisis, but not the 100,000s of innocent victims of pre-crisis lending, many of whom had their mortgages sold by the Government to unregulated lenders. The regulator can’t help the vast majority, who don’t meet affordability rules introduced after the crisis and are now locked into hideous rates. Will your Government finally sit up and take responsibility, and what would you do to free them? Will you block any further sales of their mortgages to financiers that don’t offer any other mortgage products?

    Boris: “If re-elected I will be strongly encouraging lenders to pull out all the stops to end this injustice.

    The Prime Minister was re-elected, but he (just as the previous Chancellor, Sajid Javid) has failed to live up to his promise. He has failed to respond to our pleas to meet. In February 2020, further promises to ‘level up’ were made by the Prime Minister, as MP Kevin Hollinrake enthusiastically tweeted about:

     

    However, we now find ourselves in March, with no help at all from the Prime Minister, and hit with a new crisis that threatens to take away the lives of many of our loves ones, and leave millions of people in financial ruin. Many have called on the government to act, to save businesses, jobs and people’s homes, as increasing numbers face losing their entire income, or having this seriously reduced, with many wondering how they will pay their mortgages. Mortgage prisoners are acutely aware of these struggles, and will now face even more hardships as a result of this additional crisis when we are still living every day with the fall out of the one from the past. You have only to read our emergency COVID-19 report here to get a view of how devastating this will be for many. Yet again, interest rates are being dropped to new historic lows to help people through the financial strains this crisis will cause, but yet again mortgage prisoners will not feel the benefit of these as, even with this base rate cut passed on, many of us face crippling rates of 4.5% and above. Government owned bank, UKAR, will continue to make a profit and receive bonuses from mortgage prisoners through this pandemic and financial crisis, just like it did with the last. The added insult is that our Prime Minister is calling upon our members who are Key Workers, to pull the country through this crisis, while continuing to exploit the wages that they will earn while doing so. Even though our members, Key Workers, have written to the Prime Minster, to beg for his help, these pleas are being ignored. The Prime Minister reads these letters, but he chooses only to respond to those from Key Workers that show him in a good light.

    We will continue fighting for all mortgage prisoners. And we will shout from the roof tops the double standards that the government has shown, during and after this crisis is over. In the meantime, we have put together a list of things that you can do to help yourselves through these difficult times. Please read through the topics and threads to see what others are saying and doing to support each other. Please also read the forum rules and be aware that this special coronavirus forum is public and can be read by anyone. If you are a mortgage prisoner, you can register to access the private forums and documents library which is constantly being updated with helpful resources.

    Most of all, look after yourselves, and each other, and we will see you all on the other side of this crisis.

    In solidarity

    UK Mortgage Prisoners admin team

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