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12:11 on Monday
31 October 2005

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BCC reaction to Interest Rate decision

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Commenting on the Bank of Englandís decision to hold interest rates, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"British businesses are not surprised by the recent decision of  Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England to to leave interest rates unchanged.

British Chambers of Commerce - Chamber Online

"British business welcomes today's MPC's decision to leave interest rates unchanged. It was clearly the correct decision. In spite of the growing clamour for early interest rate increases, there are no powerful arguments for an immediate change in rates.

"At the same time, we are very concerned by the more hawkish tone signalled by recent MPC comments, and by the sharp turnaround in MPC sentiment since December, even though the fundamental economic circumstances have not changed. We strongly urge the MPC to persevere with a cautious stance.

"Average earnings growth rose modestly in recent months, but pay settlements remain modest. Growth in consumer spending slowed sharply in Q4 2004, to only 0.4 per cent, while retail sales stagnated in recent months. House prices fell in Q4, and mortgage approvals are declining. CPI inflation is up slightly, but remains below target, and has been consistently below 2 per cent in recent years. Manufacturing is still facing very difficult challenges.

"Given the underlying risks facing the business sector in general and manufacturing in particular, we urge the MPC to keep interest rates on hold for the time being, and reject calls for early increases."

 March 2005




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