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UK interest rates have been held at 0.5% once again by the Bank of England. All nine members of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep rates at their record low, where they have now been for seven years. The decision to freeze rates comes amid worries about global growth and uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum. The Bank said uncertainty in the run-up to the referendum on EU membership – to be held on 23 June – had hit sterling, and that UK economic growth could slow.
The Financial Times
The sharp fall in the value of the pound since last autumn has been caused by uncertainty about the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, the Bank of England has said. Its comments reflect sentiment among traders, who have recently begun to seriously consider the possibility that the UK will vote to leave in a referendum on June 23, although weaker than anticipated economic data have also played a role.
The Daily Telegraph
Britain should seize the opportunity to leave the European Union and forge trade ties with other nations, according to the co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown. Peter Hargreaves, who set up the stockbroker with Stephen Lansdown in the 1980s, said fears that the City of London would be rocked by a Brexit were overblown. He said the “unknown” would provide a catalyst for Britain to become more dynamic, as he likened a post-Brexit Britain to Singapore in the 1960s.
“I’m firmly convinced that day – hopefully – we decide to leave, that little bit of insecurity, that little bit of unknown will be an absolute fillip to everyone,” Mr Hargreaves told the BBC. It will be a great incentive for us to go out and prove that it’s right.”
The Daily Mail
Hundreds of miles of hard shoulder on Britain’s motorways will be converted into lanes for traffic to use despite safety concerns. All-lane running (ALR) schemes use the hard shoulder to ease the pressure on busy motorways and they have already been rolled out on dozens of miles of road. There are currently just over 80 miles of ALR open to traffic but that figure is set to surge.