05/04/12

  • ‘Keeping rates and QE programme on hold was the right decision’
  • ‘QE has not led to meaningful increases in lending to businesses’

 
Commenting on today’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
 
“Following the February increase in Quantitative Easing (QE), the decision to keep interest rates and the QE programme on hold was widely expected. With QE still being implemented, and given the MPC’s self-imposed practice of only buying gilts, this was the right decision. However, last month two MPC members voted for an increase in QE to £350bn. While support for this may be strengthening, we believe that adding to QE would be unnecessary.
 
“We supported past increases in QE because they eased pressures on the banking system and helped to underpin financial stability. However, this has not led to meaningful increases in lending to small businesses, and the benefits to the real economy have been limited. Increasing QE now would only have a marginal effect. There is ample liquidity in the financial system and there is no need to drive down yields on government bonds further.
 
"The main policy aim must be boosting the unduly low rate of economic growth by increasing lending to viable businesses. To achieve this, it is vital to make the new credit-easing scheme more substantial. But the MPC also has a part to play. The committee should reconsider its reluctance to include assets other than gilts in the QE programme, such as securitised SME loans. This will make the banks less risk averse, and will help to improve the flow of lending to credit-worthy firms.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

Bank of England: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/news/2012/040.aspx

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media Contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk