People who have accumulated debts as a result of Covid-19 can now register with StepChange Debt Charity to gain access to a new short-term payment plan. The Covid Payment Plan (CVPP) is aimed at people who need more time and forbearance to get back to resuming full payments on debts built up during the pandemic. Plans will go live from mid-November. The CVPP has been developed in consultation with HM Treasury and is supported by the Money and Pensions Service – which will be signposting potentially eligible consumers to it via its online Money Navigator assessment tool. StepChange estimates that among those who have seen their finances affected by coronavirus, nearly two million were not in financial difficulty before the pandemic but are now in a situation where they cannot meet their full contractual commitments. This is the group of people who may benefit from using the CVPP, which provides a year-long window within which they can make reduced payments, allowing them a gradual transition to resuming full payments or, if their circumstances change for the worse, allow them an easier transition into a longer-term debt solution.
Since March 2020, according to new research of those properties that were down valued, 50% of these buyers were aged 18-34, in comparison to 37% of buyers aged 45 and over. The results also revealed that homes valued between £400,000 and £500,000 have fallen victim to the most devaluations. Buyers looking to purchase properties in Wales had the highest percentage of down valuations at 63%. In close second was the capital, where London homes saw 59% of their properties deemed less valuable by lenders. Next, buyers in Yorkshire and the North West had 58% and 56% of their properties down valued.
The deputy governor of the Bank of England, has written to firms asking about their 'operational readiness' for a zero or negative Bank Rate. The Bank is asking firms to provide information on what operational preparations they would need to make in the event that the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee considers a zero or negative policy rate. The deadline for responses is Thursday 12 November 2020. In August, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) noted that it would continue to assess the appropriateness of a negative official Bank Rate alongside all of its other tools.
UK GDP grew by 2.1% in August 2020, the fourth consecutive monthly increase, but below the levels of recovery seen in previous months, according to the latest ONS statistics. GDP grew by 2.1% in August 2020 following growth of 6.4% in July, 9.1% in June and 2.7% in May. The level of output has not fully recovered from the record falls seen across March and April 2020, and is still 9.2% below the levels seen in February 2020, before the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking yesterday at the virtual Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to increase the number of 5% deposit mortgages available to first-time buyers, while also making them more affordable with longer-term fixed rate deals. Mr Johnson described the recent trend that has seen the number of homeowners under 40 fall dramatically, leaving them to "pay through the nose in rent", as "disgraceful".