This has been a truly extraordinary year for our economy and for economic policy.
A year ago – almost to this very day – the Monetary Policy Committee conducted its first gilt auction as part of its asset purchase programme, or its policy of quantitative easing as it became known. The need for policy action was clear. The three months to March 2009 are estimated to have seen the sharpest quarterly contraction in GDP since comparable records began in the 1950s. Manufacturing output was contracting at an annualised rate of close to 20 per cent. Claimant count unemployment was rising at the fastest rate on record.