THE Bank of England has “held its nerve” to keep the interest rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent, according to Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber deputy chief executive Chris Fletcher said: “There is some concern, though, whether this is just a stay of execution as increasing numbers of businesses report concerns about prices rising.

“With inflation already high, and with more price increases still to come through following the VAT change, the Bank is looking like it is running out of breathing space and a rate rise could be on the cards in the not too distant future.

“Businesses are already battling a number of major issues at present and a change in base rate at this time or in the near future would present a serious challenge.”

The rate of inflation, according to the Consumer Price Index, stands at 3.7 per cent but could rise to four per cent.