September 16, 2020
Government must publish Debt Resolution Strategy for borrowers affected by COVID-19 – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Government to publish a Debt Resolution Strategy for borrowers who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Speaking today, the Donegal TD called on the Government to expand the Mortgage-to-Rent Scheme, ensure bank compliance with the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, and extend payment breaks for a further 3 months for those remaining unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

Teachta Doherty said:

“Figures published today by the Central Bank show that 74,000 mortgage payment breaks have been granted by the five retail banks since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“These payment breaks, when properly designed and targeted, can provide immediate relief to households that have suffered income and job loss as a result of the pandemic.

“In the coming weeks, payment breaks will end for nearly 40,000 mortgage-holders, despite many of them remaining unemployed as a result of public health measures.

“Thousands of these borrowers will be unable to return to normal repayments, and face mortgage arrears and distressed debt.

“The Government must publish a Debt Resolution Strategy to ensure the broadest range of supports are in place for these borrowers, who face the prospect of distressed debt, arrears and even repossession otherwise.

“This Strategy should include an expansion of the Mortgage-to-Rent Scheme and ensure bank compliance with the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.

“In the immediate term, COVID-19 payment breaks must be extended for a further three months for those who remain unemployed, with no charging of additional interest during the break period.

“If an extension to payment breaks is not announced before the end of September, any extension will fall outside the EBA guidelines, with dire consequences for borrowers and banks.

“It is therefore crucial that the Government and banking sector provide a further three-month extension as soon as possible before this deadline passes.”

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