PM tells banks to pass on rate cuts

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown has urged all banks and building societies to pass on the benefits of interest rate cuts to their mortgage-holders.

The Prime Minister intervened after The Independent revealed yesterday that 18 lenders had cut the rates they paid to savers but that 14 lenders had yet to reduce their standard variable mortgage rates by the full 0.25 per cent to reflect last month's rate cut by the Bank of England.

Mr Brown said: "I think that where interest rate cuts happen, the building societies and banks have got a duty to take that into account."

Although lenders are trying to protect their profits from the global credit squeeze, Mr Brown argued that they should play their part in the Government's drive to keep inflation under control. That meant keeping the gap between inflation and interest rates much narrower than it was in the past, he said.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, added: "Just as people recognise that when interest rates go up, their mortgages go up, they expect that when interest rates come down, that the lenders will reduce the rates so that they can benefit. It is part of the deal."