Banks are continuing to increase mortgage rates despite expectations that the Bank of England will cut the base rate by at least a quarter-point. The Times, The Independent

Alliance & Leicester is to increase its fixed-rate deals on Friday by between 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points, three days after it increased rates on the same deals by up to 0.35 points.

Woolwich announced that it would no longer offer two-year fixed rates to borrowers who do not have a 10 per cent deposit, effectively excluding first-time buyers. These homeowners will be forced to take out a deal that ties them in for at least five years if they want a fixed rate for more than 90 per cent of the property value.