New analysis by the Labour party suggests that nearly 7,000 households in Stevenage and North Herts are facing an average increase of £2,300 to their annual mortgage costs.

Research by the Resolution Foundation think tank has estimated that £2,300 will be the average annual increase for the 1.6 million households around the UK who are on fixed-rate mortgages that expire this year.

In Stevenage, 2,797 households are set to be impacted by the rises, while 4,041 North Herts households will also be affected.

The increase means that, on average, affected households will see an extra £191 per month added to their costs.

Moneyfacts, a financial data firm, say that the average two-year fixed-rate mortgage is now 5.49 per cent and the average five-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently 5.17 per cent.

Further increases may be on their way too, with the Resolution Foundation estimating that families have only experienced about one third of the £12 billion increase in total annual repayments that is expected between the end of 2021 and 2026.

Interest rates have soared over the last two years. As recently as December 2021, the Bank of England interest rate was set at 0.1 per cent. But it has risen exponentially since then, reaching 4.5 per cent in May this year.

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, spoke to broadcasters today (Wednesday, June 21) and warned that if the government provided "short-term support" it would cause inflation and mortgage rates to stay "higher for longer".

He is meeting mortgage lenders later this week "to ask what else can be done to relieve pressure".

Labour party representatives have pointed the finger at the Conservative government for the rises.

Kevin Bonavia, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, said: "This big hike in mortgage rates will be a hammer blow to so many people's personal finances, on top of high inflation and increases on energy bills.

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"We are all paying a heavy price for this Conservative government's car-crashing the economy last year.

"Their response has been to cut tax for the wealthiest one per cent in the country but increase average taxes for individuals and businesses.

"This is no way to rebuild the economy and make the cost of living affordable again for everyone.

"We desperately need a change of direction with a new Labour government.

"In the meantime, I would urge anyone worried about how they're going to pay the bills to seek advice and support from good local organisations, such as Stevenage Citizens Advice Bureau, which I'm pleased has been made a priority for funding by our local Labour council in this time of real hardship."

North Herts Cllr Ian Albert added: “After years of Conservative failure families in North Herts are asking themselves a simple question – do I feel better off than 13 years ago? For most people the answer is no."

Cllr Elizabeth Dennis, Labour leader of North Herts Council, said: “We cannot go on like this – the economy has stalled, the cost of living crisis is deepening by the day, NHS waiting lists are soaring and nothing seems to work.

"It’s time for change – and Labour has a plan to build a better Britain. No more sticking plaster politics, but real mission driven government to get this country back on its feet."

We contacted Stephen McPartland and Bim Afolami, the MPs for Stevenage and Hitchin & Harpenden respectively, for comment on this story.