Ahead of each meeting, the MPC receives briefings on the economy from Bank of England staff. This includes a half-day meeting – known as the ‘pre-MPC meeting’ – which usually takes place the week before the MPC's interest rate setting meeting. The MPC members are made aware of all the latest data on the economy and hear explanations of recent trends and analysis of relevant issues. The committee is also told about business conditions around the UK by the Bank's Agents.
The MPC meets over three further days.
At the first meeting, normally held on the Thursday before the interest-rate decision is announced, members discuss their views on how to interpret the most recent economic data.
At the MPC’s second meeting – the first of two policy meetings, normally held the following Monday – the members debate what the appropriate monetary policy stance should be.
The MPC’s final meeting – its second policy meeting – is normally held on the Wednesday. Following further discussion on the stance of monetary policy, the Governor puts to the meeting the policy that he believes will command a majority, and the members vote. The MPC decision reflects the vote of each individual member, rather than being based on a consensus of opinion. If there is a tie, the Governor casts the deciding vote. Any member in a minority is asked to say what level of interest rates they would have preferred.
The interest-rate decision is published alongside the minutes of the MPC’s meetings at 12 noon on the Thursday.