Labour issue warning of half a million more extra sofa surfers as average mortgage rates soar to highest rate for 15 years, by Alistair Thompson

The Labour Party have issued a stark warning about a new generation of sofa surfers as mortgage costs hit their highest level for 15 years with the rate on a two-year fixed deal hitting an eyewatering 6.66%.

Mortgage costs have been soaring recently as lenders struggle with uncertainty over interest rates, which are expected to rise further over coming months as the Bank of England tries to curb inflation.

Now Labour claim that the government’s planning changes, a failure to build enough new properties and more expensive mortgages will lead to more than half a million people becoming “sofa surfers”.

Publishing a new analysis by housing consultancy Lichfields, the Party says there could be an increase of 580,000 “sofa surfers” and concealed households by 2030 – a jump of 29 per cent.

‘Sofa surfers’ and concealed households are people that cannot afford their own housing and would otherwise be homeless if they weren’t staying with friends or relatives.

These figures come as Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves convene an emergency summit of mortgage brokers to hear more about the impact of the housing crisis on first-time buyers and homeowners.

The summit will include senior representatives from major mortgage brokers and financial advisors, including Mortgage Advice Bureau, Censeo Financial, and Quilter.

Labour has previously set out plans to ease the mortgage crisis, with a set of mandatory measures.

These would be made compulsory by instructing the regulator to require all lenders to bring in measures such as allowing borrowers to switch to interest only mortgage payments for a temporary period, or to lengthen the term of their mortgage period.

Labour has also pledged to reform the planning system and restore local housebuilding targets to build more homes, as well as introduce a comprehensive Renters’ Charter to make renting fairer, more secure and more affordable.

The Charter will include a ban on no-fault evictions, lengthening notice periods for landlords, making deposits more flexible, and a new code of practice for letting agents.

Separate analysis released at the weekend showed that the failure to meet housebuilding targets is set to deal a £44 billion blow to the UK economy, with the state set to miss out on £16 billion in tax receipts because of the projected fall in housebuilding.

Lisa Nandy MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “Across Britain, people are being hit hard by a Tory mortgage bombshell.

“Hundreds of thousands more households are at risk of being unable to afford a place to call home because the Prime Minister put appeasing his own MPs ahead of building the homes our country needs.

“While Rishi Sunak stands on the sidelines with his fingers in his ears, Labour has a plan to start fixing the housing crisis.

“We would stop households missing out on the mortgage support they need by making measures mandatory, we will give greater rights and protections to renters, and we will take the tough choices to get Britain building.”

However, a Conservative peer spoke to dismissed the figures as “scaremongering” and Labour’s plan to let mortgage holders switch to interest only or extend their mortgage, as “old-hat” which the Chancellor had already secured agreement on.

We approached Conservative Campaign HQ for comment, but at the time of publishing none had been received.

Alistair Thompson

Alistair Thompson is the Director of Team Britannia PR and a journalist.