Shropshire Star

Interest rates rise 'not unexpected' but causing real financial pain, says Shropshire adviser

A Shropshire-based mortgage advisor says there was no surprise in Thursday's huge 0.75 per cent increase in the Bank of England's base interest rate.

Last updated
David Winchurch and Sue Smith at Win Financial

David Winchurch and his business partner, Sue Smith, recently decided to strike out on their own and set up Win Financial in Newport and Stoke-on-Trent after 18 years working for Halifax.

"It was no surprise," said David of the rate rise. "They needed to do something to tackle inflation which is at 10.1 per cent.

"By putting up the base rate to three per cent they are looking to take demand out of the economy and stop people spending so much and to save more."

Mr Winchurch said he has seen clients who are worried about the impact of increasing interest rates on their finances.

Rising mortgage rates rise people on tracker and variable rate deals see immediate increases in monthly payments.

And compared to before December 2021, average tracker mortgage customers will be paying hundreds of pounds more each month.

The bank's base rate is one influence on mortgage rates, but not the only one as the market's reaction to the Truss government's 'fiscal event' at the end of September showed.

The base rate, set by the Bank of England's independent Monetary Policy Committee, also helps set credit card, savings and loan interest rates. It relates to the amount of money the financial institutions have to pay the Bank of England to lend.

"It has given people coming to the end of fixed rate mortgages worries about what could happen," said David, whose new company is a member of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.

"The message from financial advisors is to talk to us about what to do. Having a chat is usually free and we can discuss your circumstances, and what could be the best course of action."

Homeowners who are coming off fixed rate mortgage deals get six months heads up before they end and they have to go onto usually higher tracker mortgages. This should give people time to discuss what to do, said Mr Winchurch.

Today's decision, the eighth in a row since December, pushes the rate to its highest level for 14 years.

It also marks the biggest single increase since 1989, and could have a big impact on the cost of living and people's finances.

It may not be the end of interest rate rises as the BoE says "market-implied expectations" for the peak have reached around 4.75 per cent. Expectations had been higher before the Government took action to calm the markets.

Advisors at Citizens Advice in Shropshire have called for banks to show understanding as interest rates increase.

In the last three months to October 2022, the county organisation has seen 180 per cent increase in people approaching them for for support with debts. It has risen from 44 people in the previous three months to 123 in the latest quarter.

It has also seen a near 60 per cent increase in people who needed charitable support from the foodbank

Morgan Wild, the head of policy at the national Citizens Advice, said: “Right now, people are facing a double whammy of soaring interest rates and sky-high inflation.

“Those on expiring fixed-rate mortgages could face hikes of hundreds of pounds to their monthly payments. And people on variable rates will already be seeing their costs go up.

“This comes on top of other pressures like energy bills going through the roof and the food shop not stretching as far.

“At this critical time, banks must show understanding to anyone struggling with repayments. People might be worried to ask for help so it’s essential lenders proactively reach out to offer support.”

Research published by Citizens Advice shows that one in four mortgage holders couldn’t afford to see mortgage payments rise by £100 a month. Almost half (45 per cent) would be unable to afford an increase of £250 a month.

Shropshire Citizens Advice said it was recently approached by a self-employed person who went to them to seek advice after their mortgage increased by over £60 a month due to the interest rates rising.

Timi fell behind and now had mortgage arrears of £900. They cannot afford to speak to a financial advisor. Timi does not know what to do as they cannot afford her mortgage going forward. They are currently supported by the Citizens Advice Specialist Debt Team.