In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, UK Mortgage Prisoners is extremely concerned about its members and the additional financial stress and emotional harm this crisis will have on them. We have surveyed our members and written a report which has now been sent to government, asking for immediate support for mortgage prisoners who are already paying way over the odds on their mortgages, even with the newly announced Bank of England base rate cut.

“Many currently face an impending repossession or have court orders that will be activated if just one mortgage payment is missed. Others are self-employed and face losing their businesses or are precariously employed within vulnerable sectors or zero-hour contracts”

The survey identified severe financial hardship amongst those who were retired and/or on benefits, employed, self-employed, and households made up of a combination of both. They work in various sectors, many that are extremely vulnerable to temporary redundancies or worse. Those working in the hospitality sector had already been affected; hotel, event and restaurant booking cancellations spiralling incomes into decline. Self-employed contractors working in airports, nursing homes and schools had already been cancelled and households made up of one self-employed earner meant that they would not qualify for sick pay and one income would not be sufficient to pay the bills:

“I am entitled to sick pay but my husband, as the main earner, is not. If put on lockdown our bills will not be covered on my wage alone. Working in a special needs school with incredibly immune-suppressed kids we will likely shut, my husband as a lorry driver has seen a notable reduction in his hours in the last week or two”

Mortgage prisoners were already living under a huge amount of financial stress. Looming repossessions and debt management plans due to years of high interest rates, domestic abuse victims being financially controlled by ex-partners, full time carers for family, precariously employed (but providing vital services) on zero-hour contracts, COVID-19 was now adding an unbearable burden on top of severe financial worry:

“I work full time but am on a zero-hour contract. I am a carer for the elderly. If I have to self-isolate, I won’t get sick pay”

 

“I am a full-time carer and have health issues of my own. Self-isolating or/and contracting the virus will severely impact on my whole family. Things are hard enough going from both being employed to disability and as a carer with children and a mortgage prisoner to boot”

To add insult to injury, many mortgage prisoners are also on the frontline, working in the NHS, social work, health care and the police force, looking after the most vulnerable in our society while being exposed to health risks themselves. This cannot be allowed to go on. We urge that the government put in immediate support for mortgage prisoners who have been extorted and ignored by their government for over a decade

“In the wake of the current health and economic crisis, UK Mortgage Prisoners is calling on a moratorium of mortgage payments and household bills. A blanket approach will mean an end to aggressive and nonsensical affordability tests for holiday payments. But it does not end there. Never again should our country return to the inequalities of the past. We will come through this crisis, and many mortgage prisoners will be on the frontline ensuring that we do. We call for one, non-discriminatory, regulatory framework for all mortgage holders, an end to vulture fund sales, and access to lower rates in line with UK market prices”

The full report can be read below

UK Mortgage Prisoners COVID-19 Report to government_final