AT this month’s meeting of the North East Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, members overwhelmingly voted to hold interest rates at 0.75 per cent, with only two dissenting voices calling for an increase.

The MPC is a partnership between The Northern Echo and Darlington Building Society, which considers the state of the region’s economy and gives experts from a variety of sectors the opportunity to argue their case for a shift, or hold, in the rate.

Graham Robb, senior partner at Recognition PR who voted to increase interest rates, said: “My concern is the millions of savers who have had a raw deal for over ten years of low interest rates.

“This month is the last chance to take action before the need to stabilise bank rates ahead of the October 31 Brexit date.”

Catriona Lingwood, of the trade body Constructing Excellence was in favour of holding rates.

She said: “June was not a good month for the construction sector, but there are some exemplar projects, particularly in transport infrastructure, which stand out.

“In the North-East these include the Silverlink junction on the A19 which is on time and on budget.

“However, in other areas of the construction sector business is not quite as buoyant.”

Chris White of Darlington Building Society, who was also in favour of a rate hold, said: “The housing market has been steady for a number of months, after a moment of pause ahead of the March Brexit deadline.

“The market has been supported by the Government’s Help To buy scheme and I would hold rates at the level which is working until the we know more about the outcome of the next Brexit date on October 31.”

Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, who voted for an increase to rates, said: “Putting rates up by 0.25 per cent now, is the last chance to give the Bank of England headroom to use monetary policy to cut interest at a later stage, should no deal Brexit hurt the UK economy.”

Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland Bridge, who was in favour of the decision to hold, said: “Underlying UK economic growth appears to be holding steady at around 1.5 per cent, although volatility has been enhanced by the effects of Brexit stocking/destocking.

“With continuing economic growth and current inflation almost precisely at the two per cent target level, current monetary policy is clearly achieving its objectives.

“The direction of the Bank of England’s response to Brexit’s effects, cannot at this stage be clearly forecast, so it seems appropriate to maintain interest levels at current levels with the proviso that a small, temporary reduction will be in order if uncertainty driven economic weakness leads to a definite fall in GDP growth.”