Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Finance, in light of the Coronavirus outbreak, what contact he has had with the Treasury or the Bank of England to consider future options to reduce mortgage payments for homeowners or loans to businesses.
Minister of Finance: I pressed the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, to investigate the broad range of support available to people and households impacted by COVID-19 during a conference call with the Finance Ministers from Scotland and Wales on 18th March.
The 3 month mortgage holiday for households in financial difficulty that was agreed between the Treasury and lenders is to be welcomed in that regard. Our local banks are actively promoting this. But clearly more action is needed to help those worst affected.
My officials have also been engaging with the Bank of England, and directly with the financial industry here to discuss how they will work with people through this crisis, and in particular, the flexibility that needs to be shown to hard pressed families here.