Rishi Sunak has said a “strong grip” on the nation’s finances would help bring mortgage rates down for households feeling the squeeze from rising costs.
The Prime Minister said his “number one priority” was to halve inflation and insisted that a responsible approach to the public finances would keep borrowing costs under control.
Mortgage costs have been rising as the Bank of England has hiked interest rates to get a grip on inflation.
Fluctuating swap rates, which underpin fixed-rate mortgages, have also pushed borrowing costs up.
There was also a jump in mortgage rates last autumn as the markets reacted to Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget.
Mr Sunak told reporters accompanying him on a trip to Washington: “The most important thing we can do is to halve inflation because that’s how we can bring interest rates down over time.
“So that’s why I have my five priorities. Number one priority is to halve inflation.”
He added that the Government must take a “responsible” approach, an apparent reference to the mini-budget chaos.
“What would be very damaging for people’s mortgages and interest rates is if the Government was irresponsible with the public finances, was borrowing more than was responsible and that put more upward pressure on interest rates. That is not the right thing to do.
“So a government with a strong grip of public finances that’s committed to driving down inflation is the best way to bring down mortgage rates over time.”
The millionaire Prime Minister was asked whether he had ever had a mortgage.
He said he had but “my mortgage is not the big focus, what we should focus on is how do we keep interest rates low for everyone in the country”.