Bank of England vote split as interest rates kept on hold

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The Bank of England has voted to keep interest rates on hold at 0.25% - just hours after America brought in a rate rise.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted by 8-1 to keep rates at their ultra-low level. But it was the first time for eight months that there had been a split decision.

One member, Kristin Forbes, voted in favour of raising rates by 0.25%, citing fears about inflation. It is the first time since January 2016 that a member of the MPC has voted in favour of pushing rates up.

Charlotte Hogg, the Deputy Governor who was forced to resign earlier this week, kept her place on the committee for this meeting.

She (Munich: SOQ.MU - news) voted to maintain rates at a quarter of a percent, as did Governor Mark Carney, who celebrates his birthday today.

The Bank said that inflation was likely to continue rising from its current rate of 1.8% to reach a peak of 2.75% early next year. It is then predicted to slowly decline back towards 2%.

That is the figure targeted by the Bank as being healthy for the UK economy and, under normal circumstances, the Bank would be likely to respond to rising inflation with an increase in rates.

However, the minutes for this latest meeting see members eyeing a dangerous trade-off between curing inflation and harming the economy. "Attempting to offset fully the effect of weaker sterling on inflation would be achievable only at the cost of higher unemployment and, in all likelihood, even weaker income growth."

The decision comes hours after America's Federal Open Markets Committee voted to raise its interest rate by 0.25% to a guidance level between 0.75% and 1.0%. Chairwoman Janet Yellen said this offered a "simple message" that the economy "is in good shape".

Few expected the UK central bank to follow suit. Traders had factored in a virtual 0% chance of a rate rise. They were proved correct.