I am very happy to respond to that. That is why, over the last three years, I have engaged with the problem and worked with the FCA to change the lending criteria so that an estimated 125,000 of the 250,000 mortgage prisoners have been able to switch to more affordable mortgages if they are not taking on lending and are not in arrears. This a complex problem. I am still focused on the 55,000 that we estimate are in that difficult position. I will continue to work with stakeholders and industry representatives to find solutions, working closely with the FCA, but that does not permit me simply to allow any intervention. I did start my remarks with a concession on something that I thought was constructive.
Let me move on to new clause 26, which would require a lender to seek a borrower’s permission before transferring their loan. That would give rise to significant financial stability concerns, especially if a firm was entering liquidation, since it would prevent the timely transfer of the mortgage book. Selling a mortgage book can also represent a sensible way for a lender to manage its balance sheet and does not change the terms or conditions of a borrower’s mortgage contract.
I turn to a number of amendments relating to EU exit and financial services. New clause 12 would require the Treasury to assess the impact of adopting different rules from those of the EU through the Bill. It is right that the UK is able to adopt rules that best suit our own markets. The Government have published an impact assessment alongside the Bill, so the new clause is unnecessary.