BRC welcomes respite

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has held interest rates at 5.75 per cent.

Retailers will be breathing a sigh of relief after five interest rate hikes in the past year that have hit consumer confidence.

BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said: “This is the right decision. With clear evidence that previous rate rises and higher living costs are now squeezing disposable income and undermining retail sales, another rise would have piled on pointless pain.

“Non-food prices are continuing to fall. What little shop price inflation there is, is only coming from food – and even that is now slowing.”

He added: “Any future food price inflation is likely to be driven by world commodity markets and poor weather. That will not be curbed by another rate rise.”

Hawkins added that the bank should consider making its next move a rate cut.