(Bloomberg) -- The British financial services regulator extended a payment holiday for borrowers struggling to meet mortgage payments for a further three months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More than a million Britons have delayed mortgage payments after the government imposed a lockdown to contain the pandemic, throwing many out of work and leaving small-business owners struggling to stay afloat.

“Where consumers can afford to re-start mortgage payments, it is in their best interests to do so. But where they can’t, a range of further support will be available,” said Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive at the Financial Conduct Authority in a statement on Friday. “People who are struggling and have not had a payment holiday, will continue to be able to apply until 31 October.”

Banks granted the first payment holidays in March, under a program agreed with the government that’s set to expire next month. Lenders including Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc could unveil an extension before then, people with knowledge of the talks have said.

An extension mimics the recent lengthening of Britain’s furlough program, where the state pays a portion of salaries to avoid layoffs, hoping that employers will be healthy enough to take staff back after the crisis subsides.

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