A BUSINESS leader in Bradford has called for more Government investment in the district following the Bank of England's decision today to raise interest rates.

In the first rise since 2007, rates have gone up from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said the move did not come as a shock.

“However, as the first rise in ten years, it does put a marker in the sand and we need to make note of the action," he said.

“With seven of the nine MPC members voting for the increase, that’s also quite a clear message.

“Our message back to the committee would be to stress the importance of taking things steady and monitoring reactions and outcomes carefully.

“While the Brexit-related constraints on investment and labour supply referred to by the committee are real, there is still plenty to be positive about within our local business community.

“Our last survey results showed that confidence is still strong, with many firms looking for new markets and opportunities, and not simply waiting to see what happens with Brexit negotiations.

“With the Bank of England’s latest forecasts of sluggish growth for the next few years, the Government must use the upcoming Autumn Budget to boost business confidence and investment, and reduce the pressure on prices from policy decisions such as the forthcoming hike in business rates.”

A rise in interest rates also means mortgage repayments are set to rise for the thousands of homeowners in Bradford.

Ian Hind, director of estate agents Whitegates Bradford, said he believed the size of the rate increase should not yet have a large impact on Bradford’s housing market.

“The worry is more if this is the start of increases every three or six months," he said.

“If that happens down the line, the fear factor might stop people buying.

“The bigger impact will be on investors, who may have bought a flat for £160,000 ten years ago and have seen prices fall to around £80,000 now, while they still have a mortgage of £120,000."