Mortgage prisoners (like ex Northern Rock): Lords offer vital relief

April 15, 2021 10:55 AM

Susan KramerThe House of Lords has passed a Liberal Democrats amendment that would allow individuals trapped in unaffordable mortgages, known as 'mortgage prisoners', to access mortgages with much fairer rates.

Mortgage prisoners had their mortgages nationalised after the financial crash (like Northern Rock) and then sold on by the Treasury to vulture funds or inactive lenders, and therefore have been stuck paying what founder Martin Lewis has called "obscene interest rates".

The amendment, tabled by Liberal Democrats Peer John Sharkey, would require the introduction of a cap on the rates charged to mortgage prisoners and, under specified circumstances, ensure their access to fixed rate interest deals.

Treasury spokesperson in the Lords for the Liberal Democrats, Susan Kramer said:

"So many stories from mortgage prisoners have been shared with me over the past few weeks, many of them quite frankly heartbreaking.

"The overwhelming majority of these people would not have any problem with their debt if they had been allowed to take advantage of the changes in interest rates and mortgage terms that have been available much more widely. The case to act for their protection is simply overwhelming.

"The Government have recognised that action must be taken, given the circumstances and the stress that so many people face and the corners that they have been pinned into. Such action should be taken now and not be kicked down the road yet again.