In its most recent poll, finalised on 2nd January, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) decided by six votes to three that Bank Rate should be raised on Thursday 9th January. Four shadow committee members wanted a 1⁄2% increase and two SMPC members voted for a rise of 1⁄4%, while three wished to leave rates unaltered. This pattern of votes would deliver an increase of 1⁄4% on the usual Bank of England voting procedures.
Despite the split vote, there was considerable agreement amongst the SMPC members that the British economy had picked itself up off the floor at last and that growth prospects for the next year or so were reasonable. Several individuals mentioned the upwards revisions to UK national output published just before Christmas. These suggest that the economy expanded by 1.9% on average last year, rather than the 1.4% which had previously seemed likely. However, there was also concern that the dismal third quarter balance of payments figures released alongside the GDP figures indicated that home demand was running ahead of potential supply.