RISHI Sunak today steeled the nation to "hold our nerve" as mortgage misery bites – saying only his plan will ultimately rid inflation.
In his fiercest defence yet, the PM said he is willing to be unpopular by disappointing public sector workers demanding fat pay rises.
And despite Tory fury he backed the Bank of England squeezing homeowners by jacking up interest rates.
Declaring inflation the “enemy”, a testy Mr Sunak said: “We’ve got to hold our nerve, stick to the plan and we will get through this.”
Ministers are believed to be prepared to block big wage hikes for public sector workers if the pay review body recommends rises of more than 6 per cent.
Mr Sunak said he would act “responsible” even if that gave him some short-term flack from angry workers.
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He told the BBC: “When it comes to public sector pay I'm going to do what I think is affordable, what I think is responsible.
“Now that may not always be popular in the short term, but it's the right thing for the country.”
He vowed to “stay the course” in his plan to halve inflation, and said he supported the Bank of England raising rates to 5 percentage points despite the misery for mortgage owners.
Bank boss Andrew Bailey has been slammed by many Tory MPs for failing to tame inflation earlier and allowing it to spiral well beyond the 2 per cent target.
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But the PM said: “I think the Bank of England’s track record, including the governor’s track record, over a long period of time has been that inflation has been managed appropriately and people should have the confidence that inflation will fall back to target.”
Although insisting he will win the next election, Mr Sunak told struggling Brits: “I have to take what are difficult and often at times not popular decisions.
“But they’re the right long-term decisions for the country. I am not going to shy away from that.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is meeting regulators on Wednesday to make sure falls in prices are being passed on to consumers.
It came after he agreed a package of support with lenders last week to help homeowners struggling with their mortages.
Bank bosses agreed to let customers temporarily take cheaper deals to soften the time-bomb facing millions moving onto higher rates.
The Chancellor said the slate of measures should “offer comfort to those who are anxious” about the crippling rises leaving many families unable to pay.
Under a new charter homeowners will be allowed to switch onto an interest-only scheme for six months or extend their mortgage term to reduce monthly payments.
People nearing the end of a fixed-rate deal will also be able to lock in a new offer six months ahead of time while prices are lower.
Lenders also promised customers unable to pay will be safe from forced repossession for 12 months after their first missed payment.
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And anyone worried about their finances can call their provider for help without this affecting their credit score.
Banks will further offer “tailored support” to homeowners really struggling to stump up the cash, including the possibility of a complete payment holiday.
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