The Bank of England announced today that it has kept it's key lending rate unchanged as Governor Mervyn King plots his next move in the face of confusing economic data.

The Bank also said it would make no changes to its controversial 325 billion pound asset purchase programme - otherwise known as quantitative easing.

Economists are now left waiting for the Bank's next decision in May, when it will be armed with the latest figures the country's economic growth and its outlook for inflation.

Both figures are presenting problems for Governor King, who have kept rates at 0.5 percent for more than three years in an effort to spark growth in Europe's second-largest economy and avoid a so-called double-dip recession.

However, the low rates, combined with the billions in new money the Bank has created through quantitative easing, has help lift inflation to the highest level in the G-7. Governor King says he expects inflation to ease closer to his preferred 2 percent target by the end of the year.