Interest-free loans for homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments

The Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said the new scheme was a "reaction to volatile interest rates." Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

People in Wales who are struggling to make mortgage payments will receive interest-free loans for five years under a new £40m scheme.

The 'Help to Stay Wales' mortgage support scheme is aimed at those who are struggling with high interest rates, cost of living and are on the brink of having their homes repossessed.

The Welsh Government plan is part of their attempts to end homelessness in Wales.

The Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said the new scheme was a "reaction to volatile interest rates."

She continued: "We know a very large number of people are likely to come off low interest fixed-term mortgages onto either tracker mortgages or much higher fixed-term ones.

We really worry that the affordability for that is low and we really want to keep people in their own homes if possible."

Luke Young, Assistant Director of Citizens Advice Cymru said they've seen a stark rise in the number of mortgage holders coming to them, unable to meet their payment's but also worried about general cost of living issues."

Mr Young said any extra support is welcome but stated the real challenge is in the private rented sector.

He said: "Our real challenge though, is in the private rented sector, where a quarter of people aren't able to pay their monthly payments as it currently stands.

"Those in the private rented sectors are really really feeling the pinch right now. We welcome the extra support with mortgages but actually a lot more is needed to be done for those in the private rented sector."

What is the scheme ?

The scheme is part of the co-operation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru where a commitment was made to explore Local Authority Mortgages.

As part of the budget agreement with Plaid Cymru over the next two years, £40 million pounds in repayable funding has been made available to push forward schemes providing flexible financial support.

'Help to Stay Wales' will provide an option for homeowners who are at serious risk of losing their home by offering a partial repayment of an existing mortgage balance via a low-cost equity loan, secured by a second charge, reducing revised mortgage repayments to a level the applicant can afford.

The Scheme will be operated by the Development Bank of Wales and will be interest free for the first five years.

But Welsh Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders MS has criticised the scheme, saying it's not the Welsh Government's job to "hand out loans to pay off people’s mortgages."

“The UK Government has already secured a wide range of support directly from mortgage providers to support people.

“The scheme is flawed, and raises several questions, including whether it is being targeted correctly, and why social landlords are not being supported to invest in homes that are threatened with repossession."

She added “I am fundamentally opposed to Welsh Government involvement in this matter in this way. The Minister should go back to the drawing board.”

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