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Bank raises rates to 5.5 %

10/05/2007  15:09:09



Interest rates have increased by a quarter point today to 5.5 per cent.

The Bank of Englands monetary policy committee (MPC) opted for the first increase since February in light of recent inflation and cuts in consumer spending.

business start-ups will now experiencing the highest interest rate in the UK since 2001.

The move was widely expected by industry analysts and business and employment groups alike but there were notes of caution about stemming the flow of UK growth too much.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) told the BBC: "The MPC has to be firm. But it is important not to overreact to transitory developments,"

"There is a danger that concern over recent events would generate pressures on the MPC to go over the top and would result in damaging monetary overkill.

"UK disposable incomes are being squeezed, spending is set to decelerate and growth will inevitably slow."

Next week will see the Bank of England release its quarterly inflation report with business start-ups sure to take a keen interest.

Howard Archer, Global Insights chief European and UK economist, was also unsurprised at the rate rise.

He said: "We believe that modestly softer growth over the coming months, only marginally higher wage increases and the strong pound will help to contain underlying inflation pressures and dilute the need for further rate hikes beyond 5.75 per cent."

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