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Cutting waiting times for social housing a priority, says Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak said there will not be any extra help given to people who are struggling with mortgage payments as ministers consider prioritising British citizens to cut waiting times for social housing.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Prime Minister said the Government needs to “stick to the plan”.

“I know the anxiety people will have about the mortgage rates, that is why the first priority I set out at the beginning of the year was to halve inflation because that is the best and most important way that we can keep costs and interest rates down for people.

“We’ve got a clear plan to do that, it is delivering, we need to stick to the plan.

“But there is also support available for people. We have the mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers and we have the support for mortgage interest scheme which is there to help people as well.

“But look, that is why my first priority is to halve inflation, one of my other priorities is to cut the waiting lists.”

The Times reported the Government is considering prioritising British citizens looking for council housing to cut waiting times.

There are more than one million people waiting for social housing, and under current rules refugees, migrants with visas and people who came on schemes such as Homes for Ukraine are eligible for council homes.

It comes as the former deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sir Charles Bean, said protecting people with mortgages from the pain of interest rate increases would be “risky territory” for the Government.

UK interest rates
(PA Graphics)

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said he was “concerned” by events in the mortgage market.

Mr Gove told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday show: “It is a very difficult situation for hundreds of thousands of people and that is why it’s vitally important that the Government does everything that it can in order to help people with the cost of living.”

He added: “When it comes to mortgages, it’s the independent Bank of England’s interest rate decisions that will govern that, but we are looking at everything that we can do in order to help homeowners through this difficult period.”

The squeeze on mortgage holders is set to tighten as the Bank of England gets ready to hike interest rates for the 13th time in a row, experts have said.

Some analysts are expecting UK interest rates to rise by another 0.25 percentage points on Thursday and say there could be more increases on the horizon.

It would take the rate to 4.75%, helping to drive the cost of borrowing and hitting more than a million mortgage holders whose fixed-rate deals are due to expire soon.