Inflation was the main topic for the North East Shadow MPC this month with a rise in interest rates mooted by the majority of members, but one member believes it’s too late now and we should concentrate of keeping recession at bay.

The MPC is a partnership between The Northern Echo and Clive Owen LLP, 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.

Nicola Bellerby, tax partner at Clive Owen LLP said: “I am voting for a rise in interest rates in May. With food and energy prices continuing to soar and business and consumer confidence falling in the wake of the Russian invasion inflation may reach higher levels than anticipated.

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“The pressure is on business to increase wages due to inflation and National Insurance hikes and reports are saying that up to one in four SMEs believe they will struggle to cover payroll costs in the coming months.”

David Coates MD Newsquest LOCALiQ North said: “It appears that inflation is out of control, with prices stoked by the doubling of energy prices and war in Ukraine dramatically impacting commodity prices, particularly in the agricultural sector where wheat prices are at all-time record highs.

“Despite reservations about the impact of higher rates of mortgage interest on households, the Bank must take steps to tackle runaway inflation as it is clearly no longer the short-term blip that the Government hoped would be the case. And I believe it needs to be quite a significant step - an increase of 1% would be a start.

Chris McDonald, chief executive officer, Materials Processing Institute said: “I would like to see a rise in rates to curb inflation.”

Graham Robb, senior partner at Recognition PR, said: “Last year the Bank of England was too slow to increase rates and allowed inflation to happen. We no longer need to fight last year’s battle with last year’s weapons we need to ensure recession doesn’t take hold by not taking money out of people’s bank accounts. I vote to hold interest rates.

Paul Davison, managing director of Serios Group, said: “I would vote for a small interest rate increase. I believe we need a period of stability. However, the current rate of inflation isn’t sustainable and a lot of people are struggling to afford the basic necessities like food and fuel.”

Keith Stewart, partner at Naylors Gavin Black, said: “I think the interest rate should go up to cope with the high level of inflation we are seeing across the globe with the likes of energy prices and food currently high.

“I also think the Bank of England should continue with quantative easing as this will increase money into the market and encourage borrowing and spending.

“If interest rates stayed as they are with the current situation and if quantitative easing did not continue, our market in property would be affected as investors would be cautious as to investing and occupiers would be reluctant to consider moving or investing in machinery, products and staff. This ultimately would have a knock-on effect with supply chains.”