A day after figures showed that economic growth in the UK was at a virtual standstill, the Bank of England will decide this morning whether to inject tens of billions of pounds into the economy in a process known as "quantitative easing".
The strategy was first deployed by the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee two years ago in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Interviewed on the Today programme Alistair Darling, who was chancellor when the first round of quantitative easing was initiated, said he doubted that another round would have the same effect.
"I think you have to remember that when I first authorised it, it was a completely different environment, it was just after he banking collapse in 2008, it was a measure that came on the back of a whole raft of measures to try and restore confidence and it worked, you know, the economy started to grow at the end of 2009, it was growing until the middle of 2010, when, of course, growth has stopped," he told presented Evan Davis.
"And that's the key point, the background against which the Bank is taking its decision today, or perhaps next month, is one where the British economy is stagnating, it has not grown for almost a year, and what is different this time, is that if it's going to be done, and obviously I've got no philosophical objection against it, if it's going to be done it has to be done in such a way that makes sure the money actually leaves the bank vaults and gets out into the high street where it can be leant to businesses and to individuals. If that doesn't happen, then it won't have any effect at all."
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