Scotland 'Sacrificed' as Interest Rates Rise

Daily Mail (London), November 5, 1999 | Go to article overview

Scotland 'Sacrificed' as Interest Rates Rise


Byline: COLIN CALDER

THE Bank of England was accused yesterday of sacrificing Scotland's economy after slapping on another interest rate rise to stop the over heating in the London property market.

Scotland's hard pressed business community said the result of the boom in house prices in the south east was to pile more misery onto Scots firms.

The Monetary Po l i c y Committee announced another 0.25 per cent hike in base rates to 5.5 per cent which will further strengthen the pound making life even more difficult for Scottish exporters.

Yesterday Scots business groups queued up to blast the decision, saying the Bank of England was 'ignoring the pain being suffered in Scotland'.

They pleaded with the Monetary Policy Committee to hold off from any more increases until well into the new millennium.

The latest increase was ordered to dampen down the booming south east economy - where house prices are rocketing and workers are enjoying big pay increases.

But it is a different story in Scotland.

The latest quarterly figures from the Halifax show a plunge of 2.2 per cent in Scottish house prices compared with 8.9 per cent growth in London and the Home Counties.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce angrily hit out at the decision accusing the Bank of England of 'not giving growth a chance.' Lex Gold, director, said: 'Conditions here do not in any way merit any further increases in rates. There are no significant inflationary pressures in Scotland and our economy is in a much more fragile state than south of the Border.

'We are desperately disappointed because the increase will only damage the recent recovery and make life difficult for manufacturers. …

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