Britain’s high street banks have granted almost 1.5m payment holidays to consumers struggling to repay their credit cards and personal loans during the coronavirus pandemic. Figures released by the banking lobby group UK Finance show that 877,800 credit card accounts had been given a payment freeze by 21 May. Monthly repayments on 608,000 personal loans had been put on pause by that date. Against a backdrop of job losses and wage cuts for millions of workers across the country, the threat of financial hardship for UK households is rising dramatically. Almost one in five people experienced a reduction in household income during the first full month of lockdown in April, according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics. The number of people claiming for unemployment benefits surged by almost 70% to reach about 2.1 million, in an early sign of rising job losses across Britain. Payment holidays are being offered for up to three months on credit cards and loans under guidelines published by the Financial Conduct Authority, the City watchdog. Mortgage repayment holidays can also be requested up until the end of October, with about 1.8m approved so far. The latest snapshot suggests that relatively few people have been granted payment… Read full this story
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