Shadow MPC confident on economy

YORKSHIRE firms have growing confidence in the economy but concerns about the impact of the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Lucy Thornycroft, director of the CBI in Yorkshire and Humber: 'We are seeing a commitment to increase pay.'

That was one of the key messages to emerge from a meeting of the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) - a partnership between The Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire law firm Lupton Fawcett Denison Till.

Members of the committee voted unanimously to keep interest rates at their current level.

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

Lucy Thornycroft, director of the CBI in Yorkshire and Humber: 'We are seeing a commitment to increase pay.'

Shadow MPC member Alex McWhirter, the chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “In terms of confidence, from the portfolio we have of 450 companies, the vast majority of them are fairly upbeat. The European referendum is a big concern for them.”

Members agreed there were also signs of wages rising.

Lucy Thornycroft, director of the CBI in Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Recently, we have seen some of the strongest levels of business confidence that we have seen since the start of the session. We are seeing a commitment to increase pay as well.”

Bill Adams, regional secretary of the Northern TUC, said: “There certainly does seem to be a small increase in wage levels in some of the private sector. But, I think there is a huge number of people over the last five years who have seen significant wage cuts. It seems to me there are many people out there working less hours than they want in all kinds of trades, right across the spectrum.

“I don’t think there is an optimism for improvement. I still think there are a lot of worries about the EU, particularly in relation to an exit. It will be very interesting to see what Cameron comes back with.”