Bradford business leaders have called upon the Bank of England to make this month's hike in interest rates the last for some time.

The calls come as minutes from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting revealed two members voted against the rise to five per cent with seven in favour.

David Kern, economic adviser to the British Chambers of Commerce, said that the revelation of two dissenters proves that the decision was finely balanced and not conclusive.

He also said that further increases in the rate of interest would cause serious long-term damage to the economy and underpin confidence.

Richard Whiteman, president of the Bradford Chamber, said: "It looks like it will a difficult assessment to make during the next few weeks over the state of the economy, especially with Christmas intervening.

"The recent highs that many Bradford companies have enjoyed in the last year have been checked by pressures on prices and concerns about interest rates.

"Let's hope that the MPC two can win round a few more of the committee to their side in the coming weeks."

And Andrew Palmer, deputy regional director for the Confederation of British Industry, said: "Although some commentators are already looking ahead to the next rise, our forecasts suggest that a further increase should not be needed.

"The Bank may face some difficult decisions in coming months as shorter term risks to inflation remain. But it must also be mindful of the slower growth that a further rise could create."