News Column

Interest rate hold wins backing

February 6, 2014

NORTH-EAST business leaders have unanimously backed a hold in interest rates.

The North-East Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 10-0 in favour of holding the current interest rate at 0.5 per cent, agreeing there is also no need for any further Quantitative Easing.

A partnership between The Northern Echo, the NorthEast Chamber of Commerce (NECC), and Tees Va lleybased accountancy firm Waltons ClarkWhitehill, theMPC looks at the region's economy and gives experts the opportunity to argue for shifts or holds in interest rates.

Heather O'Driscoll, managing partner at Waltons Clark Whitehill, said: "The positive GDP figures, coming quickly after the fall in unemployment, are very good news.

"However, it's important to look at the regional employment situation and we are still a long way from where we need to be."

Ross Smith, NECC director of policy, said: "We're seeing strong signs in the economy and in our businesses, as well as very good results in the GDP statistics for the final quarter of 2013, which gives us confidence for the year ahead.

However, unemployment is still far too high, especially in the North-East, so a hold in the interest rate would be sustainable."

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Source: Northern Echo (England)

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