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Loan charges: Base rate 'to remain on hold'

The base rate is to "remain on hold" for the foreseeable future, an expert has said.

Andrew Goodwin, senior economic advisor to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club, claims that his organisation is predicting base rates will not change for "some time to come".

He said: "We agree with the Bank when it attributes the bulk of the overshoots to VAT. VAT is likely to keep inflation at, or above, three per cent for much of this year too. But it should drop back below target this time next year, as VAT falls out of the calculation."

Mr Goodwin added that as there is no sign of a wage response, the Money Policy Committee (MPC) "will be able to sit tight".

His comments come ahead of the MPC's first meeting of 2011, which is due to take place on Wednesday (January 12th).

At its last meeting on December 9th, the MPC voted to maintain the official bank rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5 per cent.

Jennifer Haines

Jennifer's speciality knowledge is credit card changes and balance transfers.

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