Small firms in Harlow grateful after bank hold interest rate

Business / Thu 21st Sep 2023 at 12:59pm

FOLLOWING the decision by the Bank of England to hold the base rate at 5.25%, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Martin McTague said:

“Small firms will be profoundly grateful to hear that the relentless upward march of the base rate has finally paused. Now the hope is that the peak has been reached and passed, and that – in due course – rates begin to fall.

“It’s been a long slog to get to this point, and many small firms have suffered financially along the way, with margins and cash reserves battered by both the phenomenon the Bank tried to control, inflation, and the ‘cure’ it applied in the form of fourteen consecutive rises in the base rate, leading to higher borrowing costs and dampened consumer demand.

“Yesterday’s inflation figures showed a welcome fall in core inflation, although prices at the pump are ringing alarm bells. The higher cost of filling a tank could lower consumer spending, with people put off from visiting their local high street, booking a weekend trip, or going for a meal out. A jump in freight and transport costs could also add yet more pressure to margins for businesses in all sectors.

“Last week’s unexpectedly large drop in GDP is a sign that the painful interest rate rises we have endured are acting as predicted, and we urge the Bank to allow time for the lag between rate hikes and the full effect on spending to be fully observed, so that there is less risk of overshooting and causing unnecessary economic damage.

“Small firms need some respite, and now will look to the Autumn Statement for signs from the Government that it’s listening and understands their concerns. As a nation, we urgently need action to stem late payments, which are used by large corporates to offset interest rate rises by demanding, in practice, free credit from their supply chains.

“We’re also calling for an overhaul of business rates and an extension for the 75% discount for SMEs in retail, hospitality, and leisure, due to expire in April, as it is these consumer-facing sectors which have been especially acutely affected by falling confidence levels and economic headwinds.”

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1 Comment for Small firms in Harlow grateful after bank hold interest rate:

2023-09-22 13:28:46

It's ok they'll go back to raising them next month. Inflation is here to stay for some number of years. Sticky inflation with a hot jobs market are not what you want to see for inflation to come down. So why they halted I have no idea.

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