Commenting on the choices facing the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Thursday, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Disappointing economic developments reinforce the case for immediately raising the QE stimulus to at least £200bn, with the option of an additional increase to £225bn next month.

“Every effort must be made to bring the recession to an end. The current situation - in which our economy is still declining while other countries are already growing - entails serious dangers and must not be allowed to continue.

"Increasing QE, though critical, is not enough on its own. Urgent action is needed to boost lending, particularly to smaller businesses. We urge the MPC to consider a negative interest rate on deposits held by commercial banks at the Bank of England. This will penalise banks hoarding cash and provide an incentive to lend to viable, credit-worthy customers.”