London Assembly members have expressed concern at the apparent lack of mortgages in the UK being issued to EU citizens.
A French official claimed last week that many EU citizens living in Britain are being denied mortgages because of the uncertainty of whether they will be allowed to stay after Brexit.
Patricia Connell, a French national who has lived in Britain for 30 years, said she has heard of banks refusing to grant loans.
She also claimed some employers are breaking discrimination laws by only offering EU citizens fixed-term contracts if they cannot provide proof of permanent residency.
“We know the banks are already turning down people for mortgages when they don’t have permanent residency, because they don’t know if the people are going to be allowed to stay here,” she said. “They don’t want to take the risk, so that is already happening.”
Connell’s claim that some EU citizens are being refused mortgages has been described as “deeply worrying” by Tom Copley, the Labour London Assembly housing spokesperson.
He said: “EU citizens make a valuable contribution to our community and are vital to our economy. In many cases, they have lived in London for years – building their career, their family, and their lives here. We are talking about our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues.
“They should not be used as bargaining chips to be used during the upcoming negotiations. The government must urgently provide assurances that those EU citizens who already live and work here will be able to stay.
“It is deeply unfair – not to mention damaging – to expect us all to live through this level of uncertainty for the next two years.”