The Bank of England
The Bank of England has kept interest rates at 0.5% since 2009Reuters

The UK's central bank has maintained interest rates at 0.5% ahead of the general election in May.

The Bank of England's decision to keep interest rates the same means its benchmark borrowing rate has not changed since February 2009.

The decision by the Monetary Policy Committee comes after UK inflation fell to zero in February, as 2014's dramatic decline in global oil prices fed through to the overall economy.

The central bank also maintained the level of bond purchases under its quantitative easing programme at £375bn (€517bn, $554bn).

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in March showed the UK economy grew at 2.8% in 2014, the highest growth rate in the UK since 2006.

However, the country's trade deficit showed signs of widening, as the deficit reached £2.86bn in February, up from £1.54bn in January. The deficit was the biggest recorded in seven months.