Interest rates held at 0.5pc

Nia Williams

February 7, 2013

British borrowing costs have stood at the record-low level for almost four years.

The Bank also announced that it will keep its quantitative easing programme on hold as it looks to the Funding to Lending Scheme and a recent fall in the price of sterling to boost the economy.

Ben Thompson, MD Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “There have been some calls for the Bank to raise interest rates whilst things are relatively calm and improved.

“This is to be expected, especially as we now approach 4 years of a record low base rate.

“Whilst there may be some scope and tolerance now for an upward move, there is no clear evidence of strong and sustainable economic growth and while this position remains fragile, rates will stay as they are.

“At some stage though, the economy and some financial institutions need to be weaned off their support and stimulus and this will be a delicate process that can only be implemented when the outlook is positive and the economic recovery fully underway.

“So a rate increase cannot be ruled out for this year however the current 0.5% will continue into its fifth year for certain.”

Sean Oldfield, chief executive officer, Castle Trust said: “Lenders who want to remain competitive are having to tweak rates as Funding for Lending continues to push rates for both savers and borrowers lower. It is not just borrowers with large deposits who are benefiting either, although first-time buyers are not seeing the same level of cuts.

“What is particularly striking is that building societies and smaller lenders in particular are responding with a range of innovative and competitive mortgage deals underlining their key role in improving lending conditions. A more competitive mortgage market is emerging allowing customers to have more choice.”

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