By Francesca James

Commenting on today’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"We fully support the decision to keep interest rates and the Quantitative Easing programme on hold.

“New risks of a global downturn, combined with the underlying weaknesses still facing the UK economy, make it important for the MPC to persevere with expansionary policies. Any consideration of raising interest rates, or reducing QE, must be rejected until there is more conclusive evidence that growth is secure.

“The tough austerity measures announced in the Budget, although necessary, will inevitably increase pressures on businesses and heighten the risk of a setback. With that in mind, avoiding a new recession must remain the key policy priority.

“Interest rates will need to stay low for a prolonged period, and if the economy shows signs of renewed weakness, the MPC should not hesitate to increase the QE programme.”