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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
The cost of living
Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England (L), and Inside Money listener Adam Potter
Listener Adam Potter meets the BoE governor Mervyn King
Saturday, 21 July, 1204 BST
On Radio 4 and online

In the first programme of a new series, Inside Money asks how worried we should be about the rising cost of living.

And how far might interest rates have to rise to keep inflation under control?

Earlier this year the governor of the Bank of England was forced to write a letter of explanation to the chancellor after the official measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), jumped to 3.1% in March - more than one percentage point above its target.

The Bank said sharp increases in the cost of food and rising energy prices were partly responsible for the increase. Since then the CPI has fallen back but remains above the 2% target.

The Monetary Policy Committee's only tool to keep inflation under control is to move interest rates. These have already gone up five times since last August.

A graph showing the Bank of England's base rate
But some economists argue rates need to move even higher to keep the economy on an even keel.

They point to the fact that the housing market is still buoyant, wages continue to grow more quickly than the official inflation rate and warn that the increasing amount of money flowing round the economy is worrying.

They ask if the Bank is following the correct strategy to ensure a stable economy - and even question the validity of the inflation target itself.

Adam Potter runs a small business in the north east of England.

Rising prices are causing him concern in both his business and his personal life.

He joins Inside Money to find out more about the Bank of England's strategy to fight inflation, and gets the chance to discuss the dilemmas facing Governor Mervyn King with the man himself in a rare interview.

Adam puts his concerns about the economy to the governor and gains a unique insight into how the committee approaches its central job to control inflation.

BBC Radio 4's Inside Money returned on Saturday, 21 July 2007, at 1204 BST.

A longer version of the programme was broadcast on Monday, 23 July 2007, at 1502 BST.

Presenter: Lesley Curwen
Listener: Adam Potter
Producer: Jennifer Clarke




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