‘Now move onto UK’s Brexit plan’

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
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Business chiefs in Lancashire have welcomed the Bank of England’s move to slash interest rates for the first time in more than seven years and deliver an emergency package worth up to £170 billion to ward off recession.

But leaders have urged the Government to press ahead with a “clear plan and timetable for Brexit negotiations”.

Policymakers voted unanimously to cut rates to a new historic low of 0.25 per cent from 0.5 per cent – the first cut since March 2009, when the Bank reduced rates at the height of the financial crisis.

It also unveiled a package of measures to boost a sharply slowing economy after the EU referendum vote, with the Bank revealing its biggest growth downgrade since quarterly inflation report records began.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “A cut in interest rates together with additional quantitative easing measures should be improve business and consumer confidence. Even though lower interest rates may give a helpful boost to market confidence what businesses really want is low, stable interest rates for the foreseeable future, which will enable them to make their own growth and expansion plans with confidence.”

She added: “What is vital however is that the Government now presses ahead develops a clear plan and timetable for Brexit negotiations.”

The Bank believes its measures will see the UK avoid dropping into recession, but it warned of a “material slowdown”, higher unemployment and falling house prices over the next year.

Its economy-boosting action will see it expand its £375 billion quantitative easing programme by £60 billion.