Shadow MPC concerned at regional flavour to recovery

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THE recovery in the UK economy is increasingly showing regional differences according to leading business figures.

Members of the Yorkshire Shadow Monetary Policy Committee voiced concerns that the recovery is continuing to gather pace in the south but slowing in other parts of the country.

The Shadow MPC is a partnership between The Yorkshire Post and law firm Lupton Fawcett Denison Till.

Members voted unanimously for a hold in interest rates and no further quantitative easing at their latest meeting.

The Bank of England’s MPC will confirm its latest decision on interest rates today.

Kevin O’Connor, from RSM Tenon, said: “I don’t think things have fundamentally changed in that I think there is optimism and positivity.

“Certainly our clients are more active than 18 months ago, but are they more active than three months ago? I suspect not.

“Are we still on that upwards curve? No, I think it’s plateaued a bit.

“In London, it’s rocketing, so there is a regional difference.”

His view was echoed by other members of the committee.

Committee chairman Jonathan Oxley, director of Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, said: “If I were sat somewhere further south than this, then I might think we could be coming to a slightly different conclusion.”

Concerns were also expressed about the impact of the crisis facing the UK steel industry and Tata Steel’s recent announcement of job losses in Scunthorpe.

Bill Adams, regional Secretary of the TUC, said: “Exports are lower now than they were before the crash, so if that’s a sign of recovery then it’s not a good one and, on top of that, you have issues like Scunthorpe, where you have 1,700 skilled people, but only skilled in those jobs.

“They might be building glitzy office blocks in London, but not around here.”

Andrew Marran, Business Development Manager at Leeds Beckett, said: “Are we really considering the implications of losing the steel industry, because once it’s gone it’s gone.

“I think there is something very strategically important about the decline in steel.

“If this were happening in the industrial heart of Germany, I think there would be a very different set of actions happening.”

The Bank of England’s base rate has been unchanged at its record low of 0.5 per cent since March 2009.