Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane says "no rush" for interest rate rise

 
Lynsey Barber
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Interest rates are likely to rise this year (Source: Getty)

The Bank of England's chief economist has said there is "no rush" to raise interest rates to levels seen in the past.

Andy Haldane, who sits on the central bank's monetary policy committee (MPC) which is in charge of setting interest rates, said that while there would likely be "some further tightening of policy" it would not be aggressive.

Read more: Bank of England boss says two rate rises this year not a "great shock"

“Rates remain ... comfortably at the lowest levels in the Bank of England’s 325-year history, and that is there to support the economy," said Haldane, speaking on a visit to the north east of England, local news reports.

“... we have a very strong eye on inflationary developments, and they’re currently ahead of our target. That’s why we’ve raised rates once already and why yesterday we said that, on the balance of probabilities, it seems likely that some further tightening of policy might be needed over the period ahead.

“We’re in no rush, rates won’t remotely go back to levels we’ve seen in the past, but nonetheless keeping the cost of living under control is, we think, the single best and most important thing we can do to help the economy generally and, within that, in particular those households who are feeling the pinch financially.”

The BoE raised rates for the first time in a decade in November. Last week the MPC voted to leave the rate of 0.5 per cent unchanged but signalled a more hawkish tone.

Read more: Sterling jumps as Bank of England hints at earlier than expected rate hike

Governor Mark Carney said monetary policy would “need to be tightened somewhat earlier and by a somewhat greater extent over the forecast period than anticipated” in November.

And deputy governor Ben Broadbent said on Friday that two rises this year would not be a "great shock" to the economy.

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