The Bank of England has just forecast a recession lasting for more than a year and inflation climbing to 13.3% on the day that it has confirmed it is increasing interest rates to 1.75%.
Meanwhile, the interest rates hike is the biggest single increase since 1995 (reflecting the severity of the current crisis) and has taken interest rates to their highest level since December 2008 just after the financial crash.
Here’s what this new announcement means and how it will affect you.
What you need to know about a recession
The Bank of England has predicted a recession starting this year, which could last as long as the 2008 financial crisis, which was five quarters.
But, the governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, vowed last month that it still planned to stick to its 2% inflation target – and interest rates is the best way to that.
He said: “There are no ifs or buts in our commitment to the 2% inflation target. That’s our job, and that’s what we will do.”
There’s also only so much the Bank of England can do, as the UK is also impacted by prices around the world. For instance, energy bills soared here when Russia recently reduced its natural gas supply to mainland Europe, because the worldwide supplies were squeezed.
Prices are going up quickly all over the world too, now that Covid restrictions have eased – however, there are not enough goods to go around, so the reduced supplies again mean prices rise.
Other countries are also trying to tackle inflation right now – the US central bank has increased its rates significantly in recent months, up to 2.25% to 2.5%.
The European Central Bank has increased rates for the first time in more than11 years.
The BBC’s Faisal Islam also pointed out that if the Bank’s predictions are correct, the whole economic landscape will change for the next prime minister.
OK – so what does this have to do with inflation?
Rising prices is also known as inflation.
The Bank of England hopes to slow the rate of inflation by increasing the interest rate, especially after its early forecasts suggest it could reach 13.3% in October this year, when energy bills increase, yet again.
The bank wants to slow the current alarming inflation rate, but not stop economic growth altogether by stopping spending completely.
If the economy stops growing, we will fall into a recession.
So by rising interest rates as the Bank has done today, the cost of borrowing is increased, meaning people are encourage to spend less.
It also claimed that inflation will still be above 9% in a year’s time.
Why do interest rates matter?
An interest rate is the amount it costs to borrow money.
These rates in the UK used to be much higher, but the financial crash meant they were slashed to reduce the fall-out. They’ve been at historically low levels since, and only last year, they dropped to 0.1%.
This number has stayed low for the last 13 years, and only now has it crept up to late 2008 levels.
As inflation is the rate at which prices rise, interest rates are used to balance it out and reduce soaring prices.
Essentially, if it costs more to borrow money, people are less likely to lend it, which should steady out the sudden changes in the economy.
Interest rates are decided by the Monetary Policy Committee, a team of nine economists. The last increase occurred only in June, when the rates climbed from 1% to 1.25% – yet another noteworthy increase.
Why is this increase in interest rates so significant?
This is the sixth time in a row the Bank of England has increased interest rates.
Before the announcement, interest rates were at 1.25%.
This 0.5% increase is the largest single jump in interest rates for more than 27 years – and they might be raised to even higher levels soon.
Capital Economics analysts, for example, think the Bank of England has not gone far enough to tackle inflation with this increase, and that rates will have to go to 3% before inflation is truly tackled.
What does this mean for my expenses?
Around three quarters of mortgages are fixed, meaning the payment is consistently the same and so will not be impacted – for now.
The remaining households with mortgages will see their monthly repayments increase. The increase means those on typical tracker mortgages will have to pay £52 extra per month (this is a total increase of around £167 compared to before December 2021).
Those on standard variable rate mortgages will see a £59 increase, meaning they have to pay around £132 more compared to December 2021.
Credit cards, bank loans and car loans will be impacted, too – and lenders could increase fees on that now interest rates have risen.
Even savings could be affected. Individual banks pass on the interest rate rises usually, so savers get more return back – but, for people putting money away now, these interest rates do not keep up with rising prices.
The Bank of England also predicted that dual fuel energy bills on average will reach £3,500 – which is just shy of the £300 a month by the time the winter rolls around.