May 14, 2024
Government is failing mortgage holders as homeowners face interest rates of more than 7 percent – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has said that the government has failed mortgage holders that are struggling with soaring mortgage costs.

The Donegal TD was speaking as the latest Mortgage Switching Index by showed that some mortgage holders were facing interest rates as high as 7.15 percent, with the gap between the highest and lowest interest rates in the market now standing at more than €7,800 per year.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“The government is failing households that are struggling with soaring interest costs.

“In the past two years, mortgage interest costs have increased by a massive 71 percent, with some households being charged interest rates of more than 7 percent.

“In March the Central Bank recorded an increase in early mortgage arrears, driven primarily by vulture funds.

“Workers and families are clearly struggling with rising interest rates and the wider cost of living crisis.

“It is clear that the government’s mortgage interest tax credit is abjectly failing to support households.

“Figures released to me by the Minister for Finance last month showed that, out of 707,000 mortgage holders in the State, less than 15,000 households received and fully benefitted from the tax credit – that is only 2 percent of mortgage holders in the State.

“Of the €125 million that was allocated to this tax credit, only €14 million had been paid to households – nearly 90 percent of the money allocated had not even been received by mortgage holders.

“There are also hundreds of households that have applied for this tax credit but have been denied it because their incomes are too low, including lone parent families that have seen their mortgage costs rise by thousands of euros.

“Minister Donohoe and Minister Humphreys claimed that families such as this would receive the credit through the Department of Social Protection, but I am aware of cases where such families have received no support whatsoever.

“This botched scheme from government is failing to support workers and families who have seen their mortgage costs spiral.

“The credit only provides support where there was an increase in mortgage interest costs in 2023 compared to 2022, leaving households who will roll off their fixed rates this year exposed and without support.

“For over a year, Sinn Féin campaigned for the introduction of mortgage interest relief that would be applied at source, providing households with support of up to €1,500.

“Our proposals would have provided support to every struggling household that has seen their mortgage costs rise.

“Today’s switching index by also highlights the plight faced by mortgage prisoners who had their mortgages sold to vulture funds with the support of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

“They are dealing with extortionate interest rates with no ability to fix or switch their mortgage to a mainstream bank.

“This government is out of touch and failing to respond to the difficulties faced by so many mortgage holders.”

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