Home Page

carol gould

Join our email list for updates.




We hope that you'll feel our website is worthy enough to contribute a few pounds to the bandwidth bills.



Debt Forgiveness Begins at Home
Last uploaded : Tuesday 12th Aug 2008 at 01:54
Contributed by : Carol Gould


12th August 2008


Readers may wonder why I have been writing less often of late.

Like everyone else who has to earn a living or end up on the street, I have been struggling to survive: everything I need even in the ‘basic ten’ of groceries has doubled in price this year.

What is more disturbing than price rises is the news that repossessions have risen since the beginning of the year.

I would like to see the following happen in this country, where millions of people now in my age group, the 50s, were sweet-talked into endowment mortgages when we were embarking on our careers and marriage some twenty-five years ago.

We were told we would achieve remarkable wealth if we bought endowment policies. After paying in to them we were then informed by the providers, who in my own case included Abbey National Life and Friends Provident, that the funds invested all those years were worthless and that the policies would not pay off our mortgages when the upcoming term ended. Like many others I went to an organisation that challenges endowment providers but my appeal failed.

The other day I passed Lord’s Cricket Ground and noticed that Friends Provident sponsors the upcoming trophy. Is that where my lifetime of premiums went?

Those who have been paying in to Endowment mortgages should have their debt forgiven. If one has dutifully paid a total of £250,000 of interest-only monthly payments over twenty or twenty-five years, that debt should be reduced to nil and ownership of the home should be transferred from the lender to the borrower.

We are seeing people in difficulties, due to reduced income, illness, or redundancy losing their homes when they have been paying in to these funds for years and years. The social discourse from time to time becomes obsessed with visions of ‘debt forgiveness’ in the Third World but I believe debt forgiveness begins at home.

First, credit card customers who have paid in good faith by direct debit for years and even decades who fall into difficulties or illness and start to miss payments should not be tormented by creditors. I have heard of people plagued by telephone calls to their homes from dawn until late evening seven days a week including Sundays. I have heard of people threatened and then forced to find friends who make ‘lump sum payments to avoid court proceedings’ but two days later the court proceedings go ahead anyway. (When a creditor says they will not seek court proceedings if lump sums are paid to the card’s arrears and then they go to court anyway, that is known, as we all learned in Kindergarten, as lying.)

I propose that credit card companies forgive the debts of customers who have paid, for example, £200 a month to a card for ten or fifteen years whilst the balance remains the same. If I hear one more solvent or wealthy person say ‘It serves these people right who ran up high credit balances’ I will scream all the way to the Bristol Suspension Bridge. No, it does not serve them right. They were offered a credit facility of which they took advantage. They reached a credit limit of, say, £10,000 and paid £2,400 a year for years and years, and after ten years, having shelled out £24,000 they run into illness or redundancy and miss a payment -- BOOM -- the credit card company, paid two and a half times what was lent, is out to take a charge over that customer’s home. Some of these good people will end up committing suicide.

This government must get to grips with the heartless and often terrifying tactics of creditors, and most of all it must seriously consider ordering mortgage lenders to forgive the debts of borrowers on endowment mortgages whose endowment policies have crashed and who have paid in good faith interest only for twenty years or more.

For those citizens to be allowed to own their homes outright and to be relieved of huge interest-only mortgage repayments would boost this economy and help older people of my generation avoid death from stress.
Carol Gould's book, 'Don't Tread on Me -- anti-Americanism Abroad' is to be published in the UK and USA on 25 October by Encounter Books and her novel 'Spitfire Girls' is to be published in April 2009 by Random House.


Read more Editorials    go >>



Web Design - Web Designers
© current viewpoint .com

All Rights reserved.
No copying of any text or images allowed in any form digitally or otherwise,
without the prior written consent of the copyright holders.