Base Rate freeze no surprise

John Goodfellow, chief executive of Skipton Building Society, said, "It is no surprise, despite the minutes of last month's meeting revealing the MPC in a more hawkish mood, that the Bank of England's base rate remains at 4.75%.

"Had there been a rise, the Committee would have found it difficult to back this up when taking into account what is happening in the economy; we're seeing a weak retail market, a strong performance by Sterling proving unattractive to exporters and a housing market and consumer spending that are both cooling - all of which mean, should this continue, the rate will remain at 4.75% for some time to come. However, much will hinge on the inflation report, due in May, which historically has coincided with rate increases."