Barnsley 'mortgage prisoner' calling for government action for thousands trapped in brutal rates

A woman who was forced to sell her home and move back in with her parents in her 40s after being trapped in a high interest mortgage is backing calls for Government action.

Keely Wray, 42, from Barnsley, had to sell her home last year despite having worked two jobs for more than 16 years to try to keep up with the payments.

She is one of thousands of so-called "mortgage prisoners" who were left tied into high-interest mortgages after their lenders collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

Victims have found themselves unable to switch to more affordable rates because of tough borrowing criteria.

Ms Wray said: "I'm 42 still living with my parents, due to not being able to pay the full mortgage payments because they went up so much.

"Unfortunately my credit rating is now shot so it's going to be another six years before I can even look at buying somewhere.

"They've [my parents] been absolutely fantastic but it's quite demoralising to say the least."

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…

Borrowers like Ms Wray have compared their plight to that of the Post Office employees whose lives were ruined by the Horizon scandal.

They have contacted the production team behind the ITVX drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, which was credited with raising the profile of the hundreds of subpostmasters and subpostmistresses who were wrongly convicted of fraud.

David Poynton, from Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, is one of those hoping to put pressure on the government to intervene on behalf of mortgage prisoners.

He took out a 125% mortgage to renovate his family home a few weeks before the financial collapse and has since been stuck paying inflated monthly prices.

Mr Poynton and his wife both lost their jobs during the crash and, as house prices plunged, their home went into negative equity.

The stress led to separation and Mr Poynton's wife suffered from depression before her death in 2022.

Mr Poynton said the interest rate on his mortgage has doubled in the last year, going up to 8.2%. He is concerned it could increase further.

David Poynton has been locked into a mortgage for over 15 years Credit: ITV News

Mr Poynton said: "We constantly get discredited, [people saying] that it was our own fault.

"Yes, we took the loans on and possibly got bad advice but is it fair that we are having to pay over those odds to an inactive lender?

"The due diligence wasn't done by the government at the time when our mortgages were sold."

Olivia Selley, lawyer at Harcus Parker, said: "People are actively living in fear of repossession. The levels of stress, anxiety and depression particularly among our client book are very, very high.

She added: "People have felt there is nowhere to turn to. People have knocked on the door of the government, knocked on the door of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) but so far nothing has been put in place which actually alleviates the pressure on people."

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The Government understands the difficulties faced by borrowers who were not able to switch to a new mortgage deal.

“We have updated mortgage lending rules, removing the barrier that prevented some mortgage prisoners from being able to switch, and introduced significant financial and legal protections for those most in difficulty.

“We continue to work with the Financial Conduct Authority and the sector on this issue and will carefully consider practical and proportionate solutions put forward.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...