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This week, the Bank of England’s policy makers agreed to keep interest rates on hold at 0.5%.
Two particular factors have influenced the Bank’s decision: the progress made in Brexit negotiations and the Autumn Budget. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) believes that the recent agreement between the UK and the EU will “reduce the likelihood of a disorderly exit, and was likely to support household and corporate confidence”.
In November, interest rates were raised for the first time in more than a decade from 0.25% to 0.5%
UK inflation rate at near six-year high
Inflation rose to 3.1% in November, the highest in nearly six years, as the squeeze on households continued according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The most recent data from the ONS showed that average weekly wages are growing at just 2.2%. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, will now have to write a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond to explain how the Bank intends to bring inflation back to its 2% target.
A total of 32.08 million people were in work between August and October, 56,000 fewer than in the previous three months, according to the ONS.
The employment rate was 75.1%, lower than for May to July 2017 (75.3%) but higher than the same period last year. Unemployment dropped by 26,000 between August to October to 1.43 million at a rate of 4.3 per cent. This is the joint lowest since 1975, although it is not quite as good as 3.4 per cent in 1973.