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Wednesday 17th April 2024

The impact of rising interest rates: how households are forced into debt

Tolu Frimpong offers an insight into the impact of rising interest rates, and how it is shifting the financial landscape of UK households.

Since the 2020 global pandemic, the UK has grappled with a very challenging economic landscape.

Inflation has surged to unprecedented levels of over 10%, causing the cost of living to soar and placing immense pressure on households nationwide.

As if this weren’t enough, the response from monetary authorities has been increases in interest rates, a move aimed at taming inflation but one that comes with its own set of repercussions.

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In this blog post, we delve into the consequences of rising interest rates on UK households and examine how this measure has inadvertently pushed many into debt.

Before we delve into the impact of rising interest rates, it’s crucial to understand the context of the soaring inflation that has sparked this chain of events.

A combination of global supply chain disruptions, increased energy costs, and pent-up demand following pandemic-related restrictions has led to a surge in consumer prices. As a result, families across the UK have encountered higher prices for essentials such as food, fuel, and housing.

The Bank of England resorted to increasing interest rates to curb inflation and stabilise the economy. While this move aimed to rein in spending and borrowing, it inadvertently caused a domino effect that reverberates through households struggling to make ends meet.

Mortgages, loans, and credit card balances are all linked to the interest rate set by the central bank. As this rate climbed, so did the monthly payments for these financial commitments.

The rising interest rates translated into increased financial strain for many households. Mortgages, often the most significant financial commitment for families, have become more expensive to service.

Those on variable-rate mortgages deal with higher monthly payments, potentially stretching their budgets to the breaking point. Even fixed-rate mortgages are not immune, as prospective homeowners face higher borrowing costs when entering the property market.

Consumer loans, including personal and credit card debt, have also taken a hit as interest rates climb.

As the cost of servicing these debts increases, families are left with less disposable income to allocate towards other necessities, prompting some to rely on credit to cover daily expenses, thereby perpetuating a cycle of debt that becomes increasingly difficult to break free from.

While raising interest rates was intended to encourage saving and discourage spending, the reality was often more complex. Although savings accounts may offer slightly better returns, they still struggle to outpace the rising inflation rate.

This means that the purchasing power of these savings is eroded over time, leading to a situation where individuals may feel compelled to dip into their savings to maintain their standard of living.

The current economic landscape in the UK is undoubtedly challenging, with surging inflation and rising interest rates placing immense strain on households.

Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach that combines responsible fiscal policies, targeted support for vulnerable households, and initiatives to encourage economic growth.

By recognising the interconnected nature of these challenges, the UK can hopefully work towards achieving a more balanced and stable economic environment that safeguards the financial well-being of all its residents.

Photo Credits: Pexels

Tolu Frimpong

Mouthy Blogger

Tolu is a Money Coach and Content Creator, passionate about helping others break the payday-to-payday cycle and achieve their financial goals, through the power of intentional budgeting, saving and investing. When she’s not talking about money you can find her spending time with her 3 boisterous boys.

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