The Bank of England put more emergency medicine for the UK economy on hold today, despite more evidence that the recovery is grinding to a halt.

Interest rates were kept at a record low of 0.5% while the Bank's quantitative easing (QE) programme, which basically means printing more money, remained at £275 billion following the increase of £75 billion in October.

The Bank has already acknowledged it will take until February to administer the recent expansion in its QE programme.

Economists expect a further £50 billion of QE from the Bank of England in both the first and second quarters of 2012, taking the total up to £375 billion.

While the Bank's monetary policy committee was forced to sit on its hands today, counterparts on the European Central Bank (ECB) were mulling whether to slash rates from 1.25%.

Even in the last financial crisis, the ECB's rate never went below 1%, where it stood for two years until April this year.

The crisis in the eurozone – which the Bank of England cited as one of the key threats to the UK recovery – continues to escalate as EU leaders are yet to deliver a concrete plan to resolve the region's problems.

The latest snapshot of the UK economy has made for gloomy reading, with influential think-tank the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimating that growth slowed again in the three months to November to 0.3%, from 0.4% in the three months to October.

And official figures yesterday showed a larger-than-expected 0.7% contraction in industrial production and manufacturing in October, further fuelling fears of a double-dip recession.

It followed warnings from Bank governor Sir Mervyn King that the UK faces a "systemic crisis" and that banks should brace themselves for a potential eurozone collapse amid fears of a second credit crunch.

Holding interest rates will be welcomed by borrowers, but the extended period of lower lending costs spells more misery for pensioners and savers, who will continue to suffer low returns on their money at a time when high inflation is eroding the value of their deposits.

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