The Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, has welcomed today’s decision to extend the support available to mortgage holders. This includes offering a further three month payment holiday to those who need it, and extending the current ban on repossessions of homes until 31 October. UK banks have so far given payment holidays to over 1.8m mortgage customers financially impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The charity says that the move must be followed by support for private renters who are among the most exposed to financial difficulty in the wake of the outbreak. In its recent ‘Closing the gaps’ report, the charity called on the Government to increase the rate of Local Housing Allowance to cover 50% of average market rents to help people meet their rent payments during the outbreak, and increase funding for Discretionary Housing Payments distributed by local authorities, which give extra help to people facing a rent shortfall.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said: “Today’s announcement that lenders should continue to support mortgage holders, including offering a further three-month payment holiday where needed, is welcome, and will give further reassurance to homeowners whose finances have been impacted by Covid-19. It is essential that relief measures are withdrawn in a slow, cautious and co-ordinated way, and today’s news – along with the recent extension of the Job Retention Scheme – are encouraging signs that this is the approach the Government intends to take.
“More help for people with mortgages must be followed, however, by action to support private renters. People in private rented accommodation are among the most exposed to financial difficulty in the wake of the outbreak, and the Government should listen to calls to help people meet their rent payments by increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate to cover 50% of average market rents.
“We also need to see increased funding for Discretionary Housing Payments – as the Scottish Government has put in place for renters in Scotland just this week – and an extension to eviction protections in England and Wales beyond the end of June.”