Simon Read: New code shows lenders how to be compassionate

Anyone who has ever been made redundant or been unable to work because of illness knows the sudden shock when the realisation strikes that they can no longer afford to pay their debts. But changes to the Lending Code announced this week means that financial misery needn't be added to the woes of being out of work.

Now companies which have signed up to the code – which includes all major lenders – have agreed to give debtors the opportunity to make token payments until their financial situations have recovered. On top of that, lenders say they will consider reducing or freezing interest and charges from struggling borrowers who experience an income shock.

Then from April, a new payment arrangement will be introduced through the Consumer Credit Counselling Service which will allow people with multiple debts to pay from as little as £1 a month to each debtor for up to six months as a token of their intention to repay the debts when they can afford to.

These changes could make all the difference to people struggling to get back on their feet. The CCCS claims that this is the first time anywhere in the world that people who can't pay have been offered a free repayment channel to reassure their lenders. If true, the Government should be applauded for leading the way in providing sensible solutions for hard-up families, rather than whipping them off to court and the poor house at the first sign that they may be struggling financially.

I've long advocated the freezing of interest and allowing families to make token payments while they're struggling through times of hardship, so this first step towards a more benign attitude to debt is welcome. I'll look forward to being able to write about the first people who, when faced with financial disaster, are met with understanding and compassion by their lenders. However, I suspect I'll be looking forward to that for a long time.



Northern gains

Smug Londoners thinking they are sitting on outlandish property price increases may have got a shock last week. A study by housing market analysts Academetrics revealed that, in fact, anyone who bought in the north of England 10 years ago would be sitting on a much greater gain than those in the nation's capital.

To pinpoint it, people sitting on the greatest increase in the value of their properties were those who bought in Yorkshire and Humberside in 1999. They would have seen a 147 per cent climb in the value of their homes by 2009. Over the same period, prices in Greater London rose by a comparatively paltry 115 per cent.

OK, that's just a random snapshot but it belies the belief that you have to buy in London to get the greatest gains on property. Over the period in question, every region did better than London, apart from the South-east which grew just 107 per cent.

It's true that over shorter, more recent periods, London properties have topped the tables. Home values in London climbed 27 per cent over the five years to December 2009 with the second best growth of 15 per cent posted by the North. Over one year, London climbed 7 per cent with the South-east second at 6 per cent.

But the figures suggest that London's recent recovery will soon slow and be overtaken by other regions. Potential homeowners could thus be better off heading north to look for the next property hotspot.



Julian Knight is away

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
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

    Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

    Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

    £Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

    Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

    £Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

    £90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game