Members of the North East Shadow MPC have voted to hold interest rates, with one exception who voted for a cut this month. Stability was the buzz word for members.

There was more optimism than in previous months, although those working in and around the construction sector were less positive.

The MPC is a partnership between The Northern Echo, Clive Owen LLP and Recognition PR, 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 interest rate.

Nicola Bellerby, partner at Clive Owen LLP said: “I think clients are getting a little more confident thanks to raw material prices but I think they were really hoping for some measures in the Budget to help them, but there was very little. I still think we need to encourage stability. Inflation is higher than it should be that’s why I think interest rates should stay the same.”

The Northern Echo: Nicola BellerbyNicola Bellerby (Image: Recognition PR)

Tim Bailey, partner at Xsite Architecture and the one dissenting voice said: “I was thinking about the construction sector itself and I’m going to say that a quarter of a per cent would be a nod in the right direction. I think it would be a good signal to try and encourage a bit more investment.”

Karl Pemberton, partner at Active Financial Planners said: “I do agree with Tim that it would be lovely to be able to reduce interest rates and ease that financial pressure on businesses and individuals. But if we do get back into reducing interest rates now people will begin to think that they can go out spending again and we’re in danger of inflation going back the other way and for UK plc the long-term benefit is in staying static for now.

Martyn Pullin, partner FRP Advisory said: “This is probably the most marginal decision I have had to date. A fall in interest rates feels like it is coming but for the time being I think we hold our nerve and be as stable as we can be. The biggest single impact from all the economic data I’ve seen on the UK economy is our Brexit decision which I’m seeing reverberate through most of the businesses I’m dealing with. It has affected every sector and I don’t think I’ve seen anything positive that’s come out of it.”

Donna James, research director at Populus Select said: “I really think we need to keep the current interest rate. Many of our clients are international firms and they’re looking for certainty and consistency when making big investments in facilities and people in the UK.”

John Cartwright Head of School - Construction and Built Environment, Hartlepool College and Board Member of Constructing Excellence North East said: “At this moment in time a bit of stability and stay exactly where we are and perhaps in the near future, maybe after the Election we can drop a bit.”