QE looms: Now or next month?

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Media captionFormer chancellor Alistair Darling, the BBC's Stephanie Flanders and former BoE adviser Andrew Sentance on the future of QE

Not so long ago, there were few in the city who would have bet on the Bank of England pumping more money into the economy before the end of this year. But the economic news has been so gloomy lately, many believe another round of quantitative easing - to push down long-term interest rates and support the economy - is now firmly on the cards.

The only question is whether the Monetary Policy Committee votes to push the bottom today - or at their next meeting in November.

The argument for waiting is that, by next month, the Bank's policymakers will have a new set of economic forecasts to guide their decision - and perhaps a better sense of where the crisis in the Eurozone is heading. But others say the threats hanging over the recovery are so serious - there is no time to waste. Even if there are questions about whether the policy will work.

It is almost three years to the day since Bank slashed the official base rate - by 1.5 percentage points - in response to the banking crisis. Whatever the MPC decides at this October meeting, few will welcome the fact that emergency support for the economy still seems to be required.