Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

The Bank of England holds interest rates unchanged at 0.5%

Interest rates remain unchanged but the Bank hinted there could be a rise in May. Credit: PA

The Bank of England has kept interest rates unchanged at 0.5%.

Seven of the Bank's nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep interest rates on hold, while two voted for a 0.25% increase.

Minutes of the latest MPC meeting revealed Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders voted to raise rates to 0.75% amid concerns over inflation as wage growth has started to pick up.

The Bank also revealed it expects the economy to take a "temporary" hit from the recent Beast from the East snow disruption.

Early estimates among its staff suggest growth may slow to 0.3% in the first quarter from 0.4% at the end of 2017.

The recent snow disruption could lead to a temporary impact on the economy. Credit: PA

The Bank said there had been "few surprises" since its last set of quarterly forecasts last month, although it noted that inflation fell by more than it expected to a seven-month low of 2.7% in February.

Its report said: "As in February, the best collective judgement of the MPC remains that, given the prospect of excess demand over the forecast period, an ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period will be appropriate to return inflation sustainably to its target at a more conventional horizon."

It added that any future rate rises will be "at a gradual pace and to a limited extent".

The report also confirmed the bank's view that "ongoing tightening of monetary policy" would be needed to bring inflation back to its 2% target.

It added its "May forecast round would enable the Committee to undertake a fuller assessment of the underlying momentum in the economy".

Bank governor Mark Carney has already warned that rates will need to rise "somewhat earlier and by a somewhat greater degree" to get inflation back to target.