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Minutes to last meeting show Bank of England policymakers were unanimous in keeping rates low

LONDON – Bank of England policymakers voted unanimously at their meeting this month to keep interest rates at a record low 0.5 per cent even as the economy continues to expand.

Minutes from the March 4-5 meeting show that with inflation at 0.3 per cent, policymakers felt little pressure to act or pump more money into the economy. The bank underscored that when rates rise, they are likely to do so gradually, though that was an expectation, not a promise.

Vicky Redwood, economist at Capital Economics, says rate increases could be a way off despite pre-election sweeteners to be doled out later.

Meanwhile, unemployment dipped. The Office of National Statistics put the jobless rate for the three months ending in January at 5.7 per cent, compared with 6.0 per cent from August to October.