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The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee (MPC) considered whether to hike the base rate of interest when they met earlier this month.

According to the minutes from the committee’s most recent meeting, the threat from inflation was deemed to be such that an immediate base rate increase needed to be assessed.

A rise in the base rate would have been bad news for borrowers around the country and particularly for anyone with debt problems.

Ultimately, however, eight of the nine MPC members took the view that the cost of borrowing should remain at five per cent at least until July.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at Global Insight, said: "The overall impression is that the Bank of England is in no hurry to move interest rates, given the current major uncertainties surrounding both the medium-term inflation and growth outlook."

Figures from the Office of National Statistics recently showed the money problems British consumers are facing as inflation was revealed to have hit 3.3 per cent in May.

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