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Bank of England holds interest rates

The Bank of England has held interest rates at 5% today.

The British Retail Consortium said that the decision to hold rates heaped more pressure on businesses and consumer spending.

BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said: "As last week's election results showed the strain on personal finances is one of people's key concerns. I understand the Bank has the difficult balancing act of keeping inflation under control while sustaining the economy but financial indicators overwhelmingly point to a gloomy outlook. There's little sign yet of the rate cuts since December having much effect. With interest rate changes often taking a year to work through, the sooner the Bank cuts again, the sooner and greater the relief for hard-pressed consumers and retailers."

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