Interest rates could stay at the record low of 0.5% into next year, after the latest economic indicators sparked fears that the UK’s economy is struggling to grow. A report in today’s The Times, said that new figures showing that activity in the manufacturing sector slumped to its lowest level for nearly two years in April, coupled with a fall in mortgage lending, will force the Bank of England to keep interest rates at 0.5%. Andrew Goodwin, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club forecasting group, said that the manufacturing figures made any prospect of a move in interest rates this year “much more unlikely”. He said: “With some major question marks emerging over the state of the recovery, it is difficult to see the Monetary Policy Committee feeling certain enough about future prospects to contemplate a rise in rates any time soon.”