Bank of England base rate History

The cuts formed part of a broad package aimed at preventing the UK economy from suffering a post-Brexit slump.

The Bank said that alongside the rate cut it would reignite its quantitative easing scheme, buying a further £60bn of government debt and taking the total size of the scheme to £435bn.

It would also buy up to £10bn of corporate bonds.

In an effort to ensure the rate cuts would be passed on to customers without banks facing their own funding costs, the Bank also said it would create a £100bn system it called the Term Funding Scheme to provide cheap funding to banks.

The combined package may result in an extra £170bn of money being printed, making it one of the biggest single policy packages ever unveiled by the central bank.

However, the MPC's nine members were split on some of the decisions, underlining their controversial nature.

While all of them supported the cut in interest rates, Kristin Forbes voted against the purchases of corporate debt and three members voted against the £60bn purchase of extra government debt.

In a letter to the Bank responding to the decision, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, approved the move and said: "Alongside the actions the Bank is taking, I am prepared to take any necessary steps to support the economy and promote confidence."

Video: Sky's Business Presenter Ian King analyses the bank's base rate cut to 0.25%

Interest Rates ExplainedAt a news conference after the announcement, Governor Mark Carney said Britain is expected to avoid recession but would face slower growth than previously predicted over the "next few quarters".

He said: "The UK can handle change. It has one of the most flexible economies in the world.

"To be clear, the future potential of this economy and its implications for jobs, real wages and wealth, are not the gifts of monetary policymakers.

"We cannot immediately or fully offset the economic impacts of a large structural shock.

"However, monetary policy can support the necessary adjustments of the UK economy during a period of heightened uncertainty.

"That is why at its meeting yesterday, the NPC agreed an exceptional package of measures comprising, first a 25 basis point reduction in bank rate and 0.25%."

Video: Interest Rates: The Cut Explained

The Bank of EnglandHe added that he expects several factors to cause investment to slow over the coming months.

He said: "These include a protracted period of heightened uncertainty, weaker activity in residential and commercial real estate and higher cost of capital for UK focused firms. Some of these effects are beginning to manifest in surveys of investment intentions, business activity, and the housing market.

"These indicators have all fallen sharply.

"The MPC has been conservative in its interpretation of these data, producing a forecast stronger than historical relationships would have implied.

"Nonetheless, we expect aggregate demand to grow only a little over the next few quarters before picking up to rates below those projected in May."

Video: Carney: The Future Is Uncertain

Stock markets reacted positively to the move, with the FTSE leaping nearly 100 points in the minutes after the rate cut announcement.

The pound fell on the move, falling more than 1% against the euro and nearly 2 cents against the dollar.

The National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses (FSB) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the cut in rates.

Mark CarneyFSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "Lower rates should lead to cheaper borrowing costs, making finance more affordable and helping to support business investment.

"Small firms will also welcome the boost to household spending power and consumer demand.

"However, FSB members do have concerns about the longer term economic outlook."

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith added: "The Bank's action will help restore confidence in the UK economy and what's now most important to businesses is that the Government develops a clear plan and timetable for EU negotiations."

The British Chambers of Commerce remains more cautious however.

Video: Chancellor On Interest Rates Cut

Dr Adam Marshall, acting director general of the BCC, said: "Lower interest rates may give a helpful boost to market confidence, but have little long-term effect on businesses when rates are already so low.

"What businesses want is low, stable interest rates for the foreseeable future."

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell responded to the rate cut by saying: "Now that the Bank of England has confirmed that they are taking action to support the economy through difficult times, it's time for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to step up and shoulder his share of responsibility for economic stability.

"Britain is on hold waiting for Philip Hammond to tell us whether he will stick to his predecessor's planned cuts.

Source: news.sky.com
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