Bank of England
The Bank of England is expected to hike interest rates within a few monthsReuters

Nearly half of chief financial officers at UK firms think the Bank of England base rate will have reached 1% by June 2015.

Deloitte's survey of CFOs for the three months to the end of June found that 45% think the central bank's key rate will have doubled from its current all-time low of 0.5%. Fewer, at 40%, think it will be 0.75% in summer 2015.

Bank of England policymakers have given several indications that they are nearing a hike in interest rates as the UK economic recovery builds.

Rates have been held down as part of an ultra-loose monetary policy setting to keep credit cheap and risk-averse banks lending to businesses and consumers while the economy was weak.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said CFOs were less worried about the economy because of the recovery and were instead turning the focus of their concerns to monetary policy and political risk.

There is a looming general election in 2015, a referendum on Scottish independence in September 2014, and the prospect of an in/out EU referendum in 2017.

"Nonetheless, UK corporates have shifted from balance sheet repair to growth and business spending is emerging as a driver of the UK recovery," said Stewart.

"Cost control, debt reduction and building cash helped get business through the recession, but the weight CFOs attach to such defensive strategies dropped to a four year low in the second quarter.

"Credit is cheap and available for large companies and a record 83% rate bank credit as an attractive form of credit for their business.

"With secure balance sheets and strong risk appetite, growth is the top balance sheet priority for UK corporates. CFOs' expectations for capital spending, hiring and discretionary spending have risen strongly in the last year."

Deloitte surveyed 112 CFOs overall, including from 31 FTSE 100 and 37 FTSE 250 companies. The rest were CFOs of other UK-listed companies, large private companies and UK subsidiaries of major companies listed overseas.

A separate survey of 2,000 consumers by retail analyst Conlumino found that a 1% base rate would knock around £2bn off household spending because so much of the private debt in the UK is held with a variable rate.