Shadow MPC backs Bank of England’s rate restraint

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IMPROVED AVAILABILITY of finance is helping fuel confidence in Yorkshire businesses, the latest meeting of the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee heard.

But members of the Shadow MPC remained cautious in their outlook overall and voted to keep the Bank of England base rate at its current 0.5 per cent level.

The Shadow MPC is a partnership between The Yorkshire Post and law firm Lupton Fawcett Denison Till which brings together representatives from across the region to discuss the region’s economic fortunes.

It shadows the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee which last week voted unanimously to maintain the freeze on interest rates.

Access to finance remains a key issue for many businesses but Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, suggested the picture was continuing to improve.

He said: “There is a migration of the availability of finance, which has traditionally been available in the South East, coming north.

“If you’ve got a good business plan, with some long term prospects you’ll find the finance, there is definitely more finance available now compared to 18 months ago.”

Paul Stephens, local partnership manager at UKTI, said: “My experience over the past few years has been that mostly smaller companies, and some multi-nationals doing well, addressing skills issues, and they’re doing we’ll in Yorkshire.

“I took some colleagues around to show them that there’s manufacturing and precision engineering in Yorkshire, we saw companies that were innovative and exporting world-wide.”

The role of commercial and residential markets in the region’s economy was also a key topic of discussion.

Richard Corby. of commercial property agents Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “In 2015 over 50% of property investment transactions were from overseas investors, which shows we’re still seen as a safe haven, but the benefits of investments are going off shore.”

Natalie Skyes, regional director of the Institute of Directors said: “There are a number of measures from the most recent budget that come into force in April that can been seen as against buy to let landlords, so we may see a shift away from that as an area of investment.”