Households will be able to apply for extra support on loans, credit cards and mortgages after their payment holidays end next month, the Financial Conduct Authority has announced.

It said those who are struggling to keep up with payments will be able to ask for extra help as large parts of the UK are forced into second lockdowns.

On October 31, the FCA's payment holidays on mortgages, loans and more will come to an end.

It said where possible, households should restart their payments to avoid any interest build-ups.

However, those who are still out of work or on furlough will be able to apply for extra financial support.

It comes as figures show more than 12million people in the UK had low financial resilience - meaning they struggled with bills payments - at the height of the pandemic.

On October 31, the FCA's payment holidays on mortgages, loans and more will come to an end

Support will be available to those who have already taken advantage of payment holidays and those who need new support, the FCA said.

Under new plans, firms will have to discuss support measures with customers to avoid any missed payments.

This may include suspending, reducing, waiving or cancelling interest or charges, suspending or reducing payments or putting the customer on a repayment plan.

The new measures will include those who are struggling to repay their overdraft debt.

It said firms must also treat customers fairly, for example, a bank cannot repossess someone's home if they are at risk of homelessness.

Those who have previously been on a payment holiday must also be offered a repayment plan.

The FCA said firms must be transparent about any extra changes they may face as a result of the support, including whether their credit files will be affected.

Elevated view of the skyline of Manchester with Manchester Town Hall with sun hitting buildings at dusk
Manchester's hospitality sector will close from today as the city enters a second lockdown

Sheldon Mills, director of strategy at the FCA, said: "We want to remind consumers, especially those who are newly in financial difficulty that lenders are able to provide you with support.

"There are options available to you which will reflect the uncertainties and challenges that many customers will face in the coming months. It is also important that households in serious financial difficulty seek debt advice for support."

However, Gareth Shaw, at Which?, has called for an urgent extension of the government's current payment holidays amid rising unemployment.

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It comes as Manchester enters new Tier 3 restrictions today in a move that will force hundreds of businesses to close.

"While the FCA's actions will help some who will struggle financially when support measures like furlough come to an end, it does not go far enough to protect those most in need, particularly as swathes of the country face further restrictions and uncertainty.

"The regulator has wound down vital protections like payment deferrals too soon, and banks could now be overwhelmed by a huge number of customers that will be applying for urgent financial assistance in the next few months.

"The FCA must reconsider its decision to remove protections across all financial products. It should also reverse its plans to resume normal credit reporting, as it is not fair to penalise customers who fall into financial difficulty because of circumstances out of their control.