LONDON May 1 A return to growth in Britain's
economy in the first quarter of this year was welcome but did
not have that much significance for policy decisions, Bank of
England policymaker Ben Broadbent said on Wednesday.
"Given the amount of attention that was focused on it, it's
better that it should be up than down. But given the margin of
error in these things, I don't think it has that much
significance," he told reporters.
Broadbent was responding, after a speech at the University
of London, to a question about whether the 0.3 percent increase
in British gross domestic product in the first quarter had
solidified his view that the economy did not need more stimulus.
Broadbent has voted on several occasions against further
government bond-buying by the Bank of England.
The bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is due to meet
next week and most economists expect a majority of its members
to remain opposed to expanding the bond-buying programme.
Broadbent said the British economy remained weak but there
were some signs that growth was returning even if some
employment readings had weakened a bit.
"If you ask me, are there signs other than just our forecast
that the economy is going to grow over the next six months, I'd
say yes, and there are probably more of those signs than there
were in the middle of last year," he said.
Asked about the impact on the outlook for inflation from a
recent fall in commodity prices and the level of sterling,
Broadbent said they were relatively small factors.