Business

Bank of England MPC: Who sets UK interest rates?

Image caption The Bank of England's monetary policy committee has nine members

All nine of the Bank of England's decision makers have voted in favour of injecting a further £75bn into the economy by way of another bout of quantitative easing (QE) and to keep interest rates at 0.5%.

The vote for a second bout of QE, to follow the £200bn programme that ran for almost a year and ended in February 2010, is a sharp turnaround from the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) last meeting in September when only one member, Adam Posen, was pushing for further stimulus for the economy.

The MPC, which meets every month to set UK interest rates, is made up of nine members: the governor, two deputy governors, the Bank's chief economist, the executive director for markets and four external members appointed directly by the chancellor.

Each member, serving fixed terms, votes to set interest rates at the level they believe is consistent with meeting the inflation target - currently 2%. The committee's decision is made on the basis of one person, one vote.

They are generally described as either hawks or doves: hawks tend to favour higher interest rates to control inflation, while doves typically prefer keeping rates low to try to encourage economic growth.

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