Bank's Sentance repeats call for rise in interest rates

Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Andrew Sentance laughs during an exclusive interview with Reuters at the Bank of England in the City of London June 28, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England should start to gradually raise interest rates from their “exceptionally low level” as the economy has begun to recover and inflation is higher than expected, policymaker Andrew Sentance said.

Since being the sole member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to vote for a rise in rates from their current 0.5 percent level in June’s policy meeting, Sentance has repeatedly made the case for raising rates.

“The question we are now facing is, with the economy recovering and with the inflation having been higher than we expected, whether we now need to begin to move (rates) upwards again,” he told BBC Radio in an interview broadcast on Saturday. “If we can raise interest rates in a gradual way that will be helpful for the recovery because it will mean that there won’t be big shocks.” Minutes of July’s rate setting meeting, due to be released on July 21, are expected to show Sentance remained alone on the committee in voting to raise rates this month.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Toby Chopra