Following its latest quarterly meeting the IEA Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) unanimously voted to leave Britains Bank Rate at 0.5% when the Bank of Englands rate setters meet on 7th May. The unanimous SMPC vote reflected the belief that there was little immediate case for a rate increase - while activity was so weak - combined with the view that 0.5% was the practical lower limit where the money markets were concerned. One member believed that it was technically possible to lower Bank Rate further, using a US-style approach, but accepted that this would not make a noticeable difference to the wider economy.
The SMPC had been one of the earliest advocates of quantitative easing (QE) and expressed a strong preference for its continuation as the main monetary tool. However, the shadow committee was agreed that more specific plans for the implementation and withdrawal of QE were needed. On the implementation side, several members said that the current £150bn QE target needed to be increased. On the issue of withdrawal, the SMP