A RISE of just one per cent in interest rates could cost businesses across the UK more than £2 billion in additional borrowing costs next year, according to research published today.

The study from accountancy firm Moore Stephens, which has offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow among its sites across Britain and Ireland, suggested the sum would further rise to £3.3bn in 2016. Even a 0.5 per cent hike would add more than £1bn in the first year and £1.65bn in the second 12 months.

Michael Finch, business recovery and insolvency partner at Moore Stephens, said: "The economy is definitely improving, but interest rates rises could threaten the recovery.

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"We need to ensure that the increase in interest rates is the equivalent of taking away the punchbowl, not turning off the oxygen.

"Businesses need to be realistic and start budgeting for a higher cost of debt now so that they are not caught out when interest rates do go up."

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has suggested rates will rise from the current level of 0.5 per cent when data suggest the economy is stronger.