60pc of brokers anticipate H2 rate rise

Additionally brokers working in the bridging, development finance and asset finance sectors, also found that fewer than 4% expected an increase any earlier than July 2015.

Just over a quarter (26%) of brokers expected the base rate to move up in the first half of 2016 whilst a further 10% felt that the second half of 2016 or later was more likely.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the unemployment rate is now at 6% and that in November 2014 wage growth over the previous three months was higher than inflation for the first time in more than five years.

A low inflation rate at 0.5% in December also makes an early interest rate increase more unlikely.

The majority of brokers surveyed also gave Mark Carney a vote of confidence for his performance during his first 18 months as Governor of the Bank of England.

Nearly 4 out of 5 brokers (79%) felt that Mr Carney had performed his duties well compared to just 5% who felt he hadn’t. The remaining respondents were unsure.

Harley Kagan, managing director of United Trust Bank, said: “The Bank of England has held interest rates at 0.5% since March 2009 and with the plunge in oil prices and greater competition between supermarkets bringing food prices down, the rate of inflation has dropped well below the 2% target.

“These are not the conditions which would usually prompt an interest rate increase. Whereas a year ago many experts were confidently predicting an early 2015 rate rise, the focus has shifted to the latter half of 2015 at the earliest and even into 2016. Whilst this news won’t please savers, it’s excellent news for borrowers.

“With interest rates at historically low levels companies are more inclined to borrow in order to develop their businesses.

“Opportunities to acquire land and property or to invest in new plant, vehicles and machinery are much more attractive when interest rates are low.

“Mr Carney will be fully aware that increasing interest rates too soon could put a brake on investment amongst the sector of business that’s played a major role in helping the UK climb out of recession – SMEs. With economic recovery still fragile that will be a major concern for monetary policymakers.

“The majority of brokers have been very busy over the last few years helping clients to find the right finance solutions to enable them to achieve their aims and grow their businesses.

“We expect that to continue in 2015 and my colleagues at United Trust Bank and I are looking forward to another very busy year ahead.”