The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee was yesterday urged not to heed the siren voices demanding a rates rise.
The MPC, which will announce its decision today, has been under pressure from some sectors for an increase from the current 4.5 per cent to prevent inflation edging above its two per cent Governmentset target.
James Cooper, policy adviser at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "Business in Birmingham will be hoping that the MPC again resists calls from economic hawks.
"The minutes of the May meeting show that the eight members of the MPC were divided on whether rates should rise, be kept the same or cut.
"This shows how difficult the decision was and, given the current economic climate, it looks as if the Bank will have another tough decision to make this month.
"Several studies, including the Bank's latest quarterly inflation report, have suggested that the MPC's primary concern, the rate of inflation, could rise above target later in the year, due to continually high energy prices. As a consequence, the MPC could consider a rate rise to choke off this threat.
"Business always looks for a low inflation, steady growth economy. At the moment, the UK is enjoying both of these factors, which suggests little need for a rate change.
"Inflation stands at two per cent and growth, although unremarkable, remains positive and steady. The manufacturing sector is also performing reasonably after a poor showing last year.
"There are a number of potentially worrying factors on the horizon, with the rising rate of joblessness a particular concern. In Birmingham alone, the adjusted unemployment benefit claimant rate rose to 9.3 per cent in April, the highest for over six years. Higher utility and petrol prices could begin to hit consumer demand within the UK and damage economic growth. "In the light of the inflationary pressures in the economy, we feel a cut to stimulate further growth would be unwise at this stage. Equally, we feel that a rise could endanger the recovery we have witnessed in 2006. We urge the Bank of England to be flexible, remain vigilant to any changes in the economy and keep interest rates the same this month."
Louise Bennett, chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, also urged no change.
She said: "There is evidence to suggest that exports from the UK are up and that business investment has risen too but not enough, we feel, to warrant a rise in interest rates.
"Also the fluctuating stock market will make it very difficult to consider either a rise or fall so I anticipate rates will stay the same for the tenth month running.
"Any rise in interest rates would squeeze business - particularly the manufacturing sector - too tightly."
Harvey Williams, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' West Midlands spokesman, said: "We have for a long time advocated a cut in rates but this is now looking even less likely.
"Obviously in the interests of West Midlands business and industry, there needs to be a reduction in the rate to help them remain competitive. While manufacturing has thankfully shown a few signs of recovery we are still concerned about redundancies. On the eve of the World Cup, we don't want a further penalty awarded against us with a potential rate increase."
Lobby group Birmingham Forward is hoping new MPC member Professor David Blanchflower, who controversially is remaining resident in the United States, could be good news for the Midlands.
Diane Benussi, chairman of Birmingham Forward and managing partner of Benussi & Co, said: "On the one hand, his residency in the US will provide a perspective on our economy in relation to that of America.
"This out-of-the-box perspective could provide the MPC with a fresh look on how businesses, especially within the Midlands, are doing and could reinforce how a quarter point rate cut would benefit us. "On the other hand our members' clients are also concerned that his residency could make him detached from what is going on in the Midlands economy on a day-to-day basis."