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Interest rates held at 5%

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

The bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the rate at its meeting this morning. The decision had been widely expected although there had been calls for a further cut, as the credit crunch continues to bite and consumer confidence falls.

The Bank of England has not changed the rate since April, when it cut the interest rate back by 0.25% to 5%.

The British Retail Consortium said holding interest rates was the correct decision for now.

British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "With economic growth at a standstill but inflation double the Bank's target rate, no change is the right decision for now."

Robertson added: "But, with BRC shop price figures suggesting inflation may be nearing its peak and increasing fears of recession, the point at which the balance tips in favour of a rate cut is getting closer."

"The Bank should not risk making a difficult situation worse by delaying a rate cut any longer than is absolutely necessary."

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