Mortgage prisoners are defined as those who cannot leave their current deal due to financial circumstances out of their control. The issue has proven to be problematic for years now, with Martin Lewis pushing the Government for change since at least 2015.
“They have been completely trapped in their mortgages and unable to escape the financial misery this causes.
“Coupled with the devastating impact of the pandemic on people’s finances, the vote from the Lords is right to push for urgent action to prevent the situation from becoming catastrophic.”
However, this positivity may be short lived as Rachel Neale, the Lead Campaigner for the UK Mortgage Prisoners Action Group, issued a warning today as it was claimed certain MPs are failing to act.
Rachel detailed: “It has been brought to our attention by a significant amount of our members that constituents Conservative MPs are ignoring emails, calls, and requests for online meetings to discuss the hardships they face, what difference the amendments will make to their lives, and to ask their MP to vote in favour of the amendment to the temporary Cap of the standard variable rates (SVR) on closed mortgage books held with inactive entities, until a long-term solution can be found.
“In some cases, these emails and calls have gone unanswered for two years and, in these cases, constituents are growing increasingly distressed as they have nowhere to turn.
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“Where some Conservative MPs have responded, this is to advise their constituents that ‘no Conservative member will vote for these amendments’ – this is before any final Commons debate is held and, evidently in many cases, without reading the many reports written by UK Mortgage Prisoners.
“Some constituents have been informed that John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, has made it his ‘personal priority’ to lobby MPs to reject the amendments. This is not democracy.
“Our members are ordinary, everyday people. We do not have a personal number or direct line to the Prime Minister or the Chancellor (both of whom have publicly stated they will help but have failed to do so). We do not have privileged connections or access to lobbying. We are reliant on our MPs – who work for us – to listen to us, inform themselves with all available material, and lobby on our behalf.
“The behaviour of some of our members’ Conservatives MPs in the last week (indeed, the last two years) has been morally indifferent at best and careerist at worst.”
Rachel went on to express concern over historical actions from certain public servants, some of which have only come to light very recently: “The news of Greensill has aroused our suspicions further.
“Attempts to help mortgage prisoners have been ferociously opposed at every turn and for many years.
“This started with Sajid Javid, (briefly, Chancellor and ex-banker) vetoing support for mortgage prisoners in 2013 when he was the then Economic Secretary and the opposition has been headed up by John Glen ever since.
“To distract and peddle the ‘undeserving’ narrative, Mr Glen (and his Lords) cite FCA data about mortgage prisoners’ characteristics but the FCA themselves fail to release the source of this data whilst all the while claiming that UK Mortgage Prisoners’ own data comes from only a small sample.”
Rachel concluded: “We say, at least this sample is transparent and has external validity. Furthermore, the Treasury will state that ‘consumer protection’ was at the forefront of any decisions to sell British homes to US vulture fund, Cerberus.
“Yet a report from the National Audit Office lays bare claims to the contrary and, significantly, raises serious concerns about the role of Credit Suisse as advisor for both the sale and the purchase of our homes. Our concerns regarding sleaze and conflict of commercial interests which blur the line between public and private appointments and interest could be dissuaded, but the Treasury refuses to release the terms of sale because this is (conspicuously) ‘commercially sensitive’.
“Mortgage prisoners are ordinary, hardworking people, many of whom are fighting debilitating illnesses while fighting to keep their homes. So now that Dyson and Football is sorted out, can we ask the ‘First Lord of the Treasury’, Boris Johnson, to sort out the decade long plight of mortgage prisoners please?
“It is after all, as cited in the London School of Economics report, the right and moral thing to do given the blame lies firmly with the Treasury and successive Governments.”
Express.co.uk contacted HM Treasury for comment.