Bank of England minutes: MPC unanimously voted to hold interest rates

Emma Haslett
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The bank's two hawks voted to hold rates, along with the rest of the committee for the second time in a row (Source: Getty)

The Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) voted unanimously to hold the interest rate at 0.5 per cent when it met last, despite hints it could be lowered in the next few months.

Minutes of the MPC's meeting in early February showed the committee's hawks - Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty, who have both previously voted in favour of a rate rise - were back in favour of holding rates again.

Record low inflation - the consumer prices index fell to 0.3 per cent last month, figures out yesterday showed - has caused some to suggest a rate cut might be necessary over the next few months.

Indeed, the minutes showed one policy maker was erring on the side of a rate cut.

All members viewed it as more likely than not that bank rate would increase over the next three years; for one member, the next change in the stance of monetary policy was roughly as likely to be a loosening as a tightening.

Last week Bank of England governor Mark Carney refused to rule out a cut in rates.

In a mandatory letter to chancellor George Osborne, he suggested that the UK could slip into negative inflation, meaning the MPC could be forced to "cut the bank rate further towards zero".

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