The Bank of England today announced it is holding the base rate at its 0.5% historic low for the 19th consecutive month.

The low interest rate environment has meant savers have seen the returns on their nest eggs slashed over the past two years.

However, as the market is stable, now is a good time for savers to check what they're earning on their money and switch elsewhere, if necessary (see the Top Savings guide for the best picks).

Homeowners with mortgages linked to the base rate or their lender's standard variable rate (SVR) have generally been paying relatively low rates over the past two years, though some building society SVRs have risen in that time (see the SVRs up MSE News story, and the Remortgage Guide).

Prior to the present benign period, there were six months of falls. In October 2008, base rate started to tumble from the then 5% level to its current low.

Ray Boulger, from mortgage broker John Charcol, says: "This all adds support to our view that bank rate will remain low for a long time and when it does start to rise the increases will be slow."

Further reading/Key links

Boost your rate: Top Savings
Cut-price homeloans: Cheap Mortgage Finding