Simon Read: Lenders must not just pay lip service

The Government's much-anticipated Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme was finally launched this week but only with the support of four of the main banks. Meanwhile, four of the largest lenders Abbey, Barclays, HSBC and Nationwide turned down the opportunity, saying they preferred to make their own arrangements. Why? Sources tell me that the administrative burden of the scheme was too much to bear. The extra paperwork and red tape simply made it

too problematic.

So why did four other banks sign up? The banks concerned are Lloyds (including Halifax), Bradford & Bingley, Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland (including NatWest). What do they all have in common? They're all wholly or partly government-owned so, in fact, they had no option but to support the scheme. On the one hand, it's a good thing that the Government can force banks to toe the line, but the fact that independent lenders chose not to sign up points to the inherent problems with it.

How does it work? Homeowners Mortgage Support will allow eligible borrowers, who suffer a temporary loss of income, to cut their mortgage interest payments for up to two years to help them get back on track with their finances. The Government will underwrite loans, guaranteeing payment if borrowers default. So far, so good.

Lenders that haven't signed up for the scheme say they will offer comparable arrangements to their customers. Let's hope they do. While the Government hasn't been able to force them to support the scheme, it must monitor the rogue lenders' activities to ensure they do offer similar help to struggling lenders.

It's incumbent upon all lenders to help people avoid the misery of repossession. I just trust that this time they're not just paying lip service to the notion, but will actually deliver.

Highs and lows

An interesting discussion that came out of this week's Budget was the seeming definition of "high-earners" as those who get paid more than 150,000. In an age when some footballers apparently earn that amount a week it can seem a paltry sum. But, for most of us, it's unimagined wealth.

The average wage in Britain at the moment stands at 25,100, according to the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, published by the ONS last November. That means the average worker will take six years to earn 150,000.

If, as some commentators have been bleating, it leads to a new brain drain as those affected seek lower tax environments abroad, then do you know what? good riddance to them. There are plenty of talented people around looking for work right now, not least armies of former bankers.

If a few high-earners do flee the country then that will be good news, as it should create a good number of new highly-paid opportunities for the rest of us. And that's something to drink to, even with an extra penny on a pint.

s.read@independent.co.uk



PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

    Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

    £23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links