January 26, 2021
Government fails to secure Covid relief for mortgage-holders despite extension of Level 5 restrictions – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Government for failing to provide any relief for hard-pressed mortgage-holders as it announces an extension of Level 5 restrictions to 5th March.

On 8th January, Teachta Doherty wrote to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Finance and the CEOs of the five retail banks requesting an extension to payment breaks under the EBA guidelines, which protect borrowers from credit rating impairment and the charging of additional interest.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“As the Government announce an extension of Level 5 restrictions to the 5th March, they continue to fail hard-pressed borrowers, with no relief provided for mortgage-holders or SMEs.

“There are now 475,000 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, with thousands of workers on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme seeing reductions in their take-home pay.

“Thousands of them are mortgage-holders struggling to make their monthly repayments.

“Today, as the Government extend Level 5 restrictions until 5th March, no relief was offered to hard-pressed borrowers who are suffering from income or job loss.

“As far as this Government is concerned, borrowers are on their own. That isn’t good enough.

“On December 2nd the European Banking Authority its COVID-19 payment break guidelines. They were reactivated to provide support and relief to borrowers.

“They would have allowed the Government and banks to put in place payment break extensions for the duration of these latest public health restrictions.

“Borrowers who availed of these breaks would not have been charged additional interest or have their credit ratings impaired.

“Since December the Government have refused to secure or even seek this extension for mortgage-holders and SMEs.

“I wrote to the Tánaiste and Minister for Finance on the 8th January requesting a payment break extension without any increase in subsequent repayments. I am yet to receive a reply.

“Government inaction is denying relief for borrowers, mortgage-holders and SMEs who are struggling to keep their heads above water.

“The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Finance must explain their refusal to even seek a payment break extension for these borrowers.”

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