A homeowner who could face losing his property because rising mortgage costs will exceed his benefit allocation fears a “bloodbath” of foreclosures.
Nicholas Wilson, from Hastings, East Sussex, could lose his home after struggling to pay his mortgage payments, which he says have nearly doubled since February.
The 65-year-old, who is awaiting a suspected cancer diagnosis, said the stress of losing his home is “impossible to even contemplate” and warned of the impact on the mental health of mortgage holders amid the rising costs.
“There are going to be suicides and for some people that will be the only way out,” he told the PA news agency.
“I’m not threatening myself, but the idea of packing up to sell my house under these circumstances is just horrible.
“I have been sick with depression for a long time and it is simply impossible for me to even contemplate losing my home.
“Trying to find a place to rent as someone with benefits, and then potentially someone going through cancer treatment, I just can’t think of that.”
Wilson has dogged HSBC for nearly 20 years for what he claims were overpayments charged to customers whose accounts were past due, The Guardian reported in 2021.
The bank set up two compensation schemes during this time to remedy “a historic problem” which resulted in large numbers of people receiving unexpected payments, however HSBC maintained this was unrelated to Mr Wilson’s campaign.
Wilson previously worked in the legal sector, but has had trouble finding work after raising the alarm.
The self-proclaimed anti-corruption activist said donations from Twitter followers, of which he has more than 50,000, have helped him fight the threat of recovery three times.
Mr. Wilson, who has owned his home since 2008, is currently receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) due to being unable to work.
In February this year, Mr. Wilson’s mortgage rate was 4.29% with payments of £484.19, of which he paid £271.17 and received £213.02 through the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP).
From October, your mortgage rate will be 5.74% and you’ll have to make payments of £652.29, which means you’ll have to pay almost twice as much.
“After the DWP payment, I will need to find £439.27 for my mortgage in October, but that is more than my monthly benefit (ESA) of £397.71,” Wilson said.
“My pension, which is due next March, will be more than double the amount of benefits I currently receive, but I will no longer receive mortgage help.
“If I can find some part-time work next year, I could keep my mortgage.”
Days of chaos in financial markets and fears of soaring mortgage bills were sparked by Foreign Minister Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget last week.
There have been recent suggestions that the Bank of England may need to raise interest rates to as high as 6%.
Meanwhile, as the government looks to cut spending, neither the Chancellor nor Treasury Secretary Chris Philp has confirmed whether profits will rise in line with spiraling inflation.
In May of this year, then Foreign Minister Rishi Sunak said that the benefits would be increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) this September, subject to a review by the Ministry of Labor and Pensions.
Leading figures in the charity have warned of the impact if the government does not follow through on Mr Sunak’s statement.
Wilson said the government’s response has been “tragic,” adding that it won’t be just recipients who will struggle with their payments.
“The only people it won’t affect are millionaires,” he said.
“I think it’s tragic, but the government won’t do anything about it.
“Everyone who doesn’t have a fixed mortgage or whose fixed mortgage will end shortly will be against it.
“There are going to be so many embargoes, it will be a bloodbath.
“For me it is not an asset, it is my home and I love it.
“It’s been a struggle for many years, but obviously if I can’t afford it, I’m going to have to sell it.”
Mental health support can be found by calling the Samaritans toll-free anytime on 116 123 or by email at [email protected] or by visiting Samaritans.org.