Bank of England holds interest rates at record low 0.5%, despite growth worries

Widely expected no-change decision is the first since official estimates registered a worse than expected 0.3 per cent reverse for the economy between October and December

More growth woe failed to persuade the Bank of England's rate-setters to pump more stimulus into a flatlining recovery today.

The Monetary Policy Committee held interest rates at their record low 0.5 per cent — where they have been lodged since March 2009 — and kept its quantitative easing programme of money-printing at its current £375 billion.

The widely expected no-change decision is the first since official estimates registered a worse than expected 0.3 per cent reverse for the economy between October and December, marking the fourth quarter of negative growth in the last five.

But Threadneedle Street was braced for a potentially negative number as a hangover from an Olympics-inspired third quarter dragged down output. Rate-setters were also encouraged by signs of a return to growth for services firms, which make up around three-quarters of the overall economy.

Persistently high inflation also stayed the MPC’s hand as the cost of living edges back towards 3 per cent in the months ahead. Rate-setters are also watching and waiting to assess the impact of its Funding for Lending scheme, which is boosting mortgage markets but having little impact on business credit markets. 

The MPC has kept policy on hold since last July although lone dove David Miles is likely to have maintained his call for more QE.

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