Interest rate rise 'needs to come soon'
Interest rates must start to rise "sooner" if policy-makers want to stick to plans to hike them only at a gradual pace, a key Bank of England official has said.
Martin Weale, a member of the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who is widely seen as likely to be the first to vote for an increase, made the remarks in an interview with the Financial Times.
He said: "If you want to have baby steps, you do have to start sooner. The question is: how close are we getting to 'soon'? Of course, we can never be sure, but the economy... has sustained fairly rapid growth in demand.
"So I'm having to ask the question – and the answer is less definite than it was six months ago – 'Where do I think the interest rate should be at the moment?'"
The bank rate has been on hold at a historic low of 0.5% for five years to try to help nurse the economy back to health but the UK recovery has intensified speculation about when it will need to rise.