A single mother said she is “heartbroken” by rising mortgage costs as her 13-year-old son has considered getting a job to help her cover monthly payments.
Lizzie Devine, 37, took out a mortgage with her ex-partner in 2007 with Northern Rock – whose collapse the same year led to its nationalisation in 2008 – and Ms Devine’s efforts to remortgage were rejected after she was deemed “a risk” because she had a child.
An inclusion officer at a school during the week and a community careworker at the weekends, Ms Devine had a mortgage rate of 4.88% with payments of £584, which has now risen to 5.38%, requiring her to make monthly payments of £648.
Ms Devine told the PA news agency she considers herself a “mortgage prisoner” for the last 13 years and that she fears she will soon be paying above £700 when interest rates rise – an amount her family cannot afford.
“A 13-year-old shouldn’t be picking up on the fact that mum can’t go and get him an ice cream on a Sunday,” Ms Devine, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, said of her son Lewis.
“He wants to get a job so he can help – a 13-year-old shouldn’t want to get a job so they can help, they should want to get a job so they can go spend money at crazy golf or something.
“He can see that I’m struggling, he can see the extra shifts and things like that that I’m having to do every weekend.
“He’s noticed his friends at school are going without things compared to last year (too).”
Ms Devine said her current mortgage lender is inactive and has left her “stuck” with the current payments.
She pays for Lewis to go to Cadet camp, a cost of £15 every few months, but said he is now looking to wash cars, clean windows or sell items on eBay to find the money himself so his mother might cover increasing costs.
“He’s even saying, ‘I won’t go, don’t worry about it’,” Ms Devine said.
“(I say), ‘The reason I’m doing it is so you can have a life. That’s important to me’.
“A child needs to have things, they need to discover things.
“He feels bad asking me for stuff now and he’s just accepted that’s life. I don’t want that for him … It’s heartbreaking.”
Ms Devine has considered changing careers so she might be able to earn a higher wage, but said it would not be something she wants to do.
“I didn’t go to university to go and do a menial job, I went to university to make a difference,” she said.
“I work with children in mental health and, at the moment, it’s massive, kids need mental health workers.
“There isn’t enough of us.
“There’s no satisfaction in (a menial job)… You’re not helping anybody and that’s not me.”
A last resort for Ms Devine is selling her house.
“But private renting is a ridiculous amount of money,” she said.
“And we’d have to get rid of the dog … you can’t rent and have a pet in most places.
“That would completely break my son.”
Ms Devine added that interest rates urgently need a cap.
“They need to stop interest rates rising otherwise … through mass repossessions, mass homelessness, and with people’s mental health as it is nowadays, they are just not going to be able to cope.”