The Bank of England has raised interest rates again - and they now stand at the highest level for 14 years.

It is the ninth consecutive hike since December 2021, with the benchmark rate rising from 3% to 3.5%. 

But what does this mean for you and what is the outlook for the future?

Richard Norrington, chief executive of Suffolk Building Society, offers an insight.

East Anglian Daily Times: Interest rates are currently at their highest level for 14 yearsInterest rates are currently at their highest level for 14 years (Image: PA)

Why are interest rates going up?

“We're continuing to see the Bank of England increase the Bank Base Rate to help tackle inflation," said Mr Norrington.

"The underlying causes of this inflation are linked to rising oil and energy prices and a reduction in grain availability due to the war in Ukraine.

"The implications of these geopolitical issues are impacting many economies, and therefore the cost-of-living, in many countries across the world."

How does this impact you and what help is available?

"For many households in the East, people will naturally be having concerns about their own cost-of-living, their ability to pay bills and meet mortgage repayments.

"With Christmas just around the corner, there are additional financial pressures that this time of year brings too.

"As ever, if anyone is really struggling to meet their mortgage repayments or any other financial commitment they have, it's vitally important that they speak to their lender or provider before problems get worse.

East Anglian Daily Times: Richard Norrington, chief executive of Suffolk Building SocietyRichard Norrington, chief executive of Suffolk Building Society (Image: Suffolk Building Society)

"The mortgage industry as a whole is aware of the financial difficulties people are facing, so anyone who is worried should contact their lender to discuss the options available to them."

How will this hike affect my savings?

“For savers, the news of rates going up will be welcomed, and this latest rise suggests there will be more rises to savings rates into the New Year.

"Of course, the ability to save may simply not be an option for everyone right now, but for those who are able to save even a very small amount each month, it can build up to a pot that becomes a useful financial cushion should it be needed in the future."

East Anglian Daily Times: The Bank of England is raising interest rates to help tackle soaring inflationThe Bank of England is raising interest rates to help tackle soaring inflation (Image: PA)

What can Suffolk Building Society do?

"At Suffolk Building Society, we have a team ready to assist any of our members who are struggling with mortgage payments and always work closely with mortgage holders to understand what measures we can take to help them.

"We have also created a new 'Payment Shock Taskforce' which involves our staff contacting mortgage customers when their mortgage payments have risen by a particularly significant amount."

What is the outlook for the future?

"It’s difficult to speculate on what 2023 will bring, when the rate of inflation may start to fall, which could lead the Bank of England in the future to decide to roll back some of the recent Bank Base Rate rises.

"This would bring a glimmer of hope to those households who are particularly feeling the pressure at the moment."