The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5%. The Committee also voted to increase the size of its asset purchase programme, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, by £50 billion to a total of £325 billion.

In a November’s Mortgage magazine over half of mortgage advisers polled said they expected the base rate to stay at 0.5% until 2014 or longer as the global economic outlook darkens, while 34% said they expect an increase in 2013.

Last month the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicted interest rates to stay at 0.5% until 2016. Its other forecasts included inflation falling to 1.7% by Q4 and to remain around 2% thereafter, and for quantitative easing to increase to a total of £400bn over 2012.

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