Business fears over interest rate rises
A feared rise in interest rates could stymie Northern Ireland's economic recovery, small business owners have warned.
Almost half of the owners of small to medium-sized businesses surveyed said the anticipated rise in interest rates, expected next spring, could have a negative impact on their cash flow.
And just over a third of small firms here, 32%, said that should Labour come to power in the next election, their proposed reintroduction of the 50% tax rate would hamper the economy.
Business owners' sentiments were drawn from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that aims to gauge their views on financial issues that affect their business.
Managing director of Close Brothers, Harry Parkinson, said: "An increase in interest rates will affect the amount of disposable income that consumers have and may prompt them to cut back on spending.
"In particular, industries where the goods or services purchased are often financed by debt, for example property, vehicles or holidays, may feel the impact more."