Mortgage Interest Rates: Impact on Disposable Income

Treasury – in the House of Commons at on 6 February 2024.

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Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Shadow Minister (Investment and Small Business)

What recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of changes in mortgage interest rates during this Parliament on household disposable income.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Mortgage interest rates have fallen by more than 100 basis points from their peak in the summer. None the less, the Government have prioritised support for households that are vulnerable to cost of living pressures. We have introduced one of Europe’s largest support packages, and it is partly thanks to those measures that real incomes have proved more resilient than was anticipated. In the third quarter of 2023, real household disposable income per person was just 0.5% lower than in Q4 2019, versus the Office for Budget Responsibility’s autumn statement 2023 forecast that it would be almost 3% lower.

Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Shadow Minister (Investment and Small Business)

I thank the Minister for his answer, but since his party’s disastrous mini-Budget fiasco under the previous Prime Minister, food prices have soared, extreme damage has been done to the economy and mortgages have skyrocketed. Every month 200,000 people are having to remortgage, the average monthly rate has risen by £240, and 1.6 million people will have to remortgage this year. Overall, after 14 years of a Conservative Government, people are more than £10,000 less well off than they were on pre-2010 trends. Is it not time that the Chancellor and his ministerial team looked again at the possibility of additional support for those who are facing mortgage and other financial distress? The Chancellor is frowning, but it is time that he took further action to support people in distress.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

This Government have introduced one of Europe’s largest support packages, worth more than £100 billion during 2022 to 2025. That is an average of £3,700 per household. The point about mortgage rates is that they went up everywhere across the world, to a higher level than ours in many jurisdictions such as the United States. I have already mentioned the work that we have done on the mortgage charter, helping hundreds of thousands of people to manage their mortgages, but the critical thing that we need to do is bring inflation down. She needs to talk to her shadow Chancellor and the shadow Treasury team about their plans, which would make inflation higher.