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Rates cut talks as crucial meeting begins

The Bank of England today begins its 100th meeting to set interest rates with loud calls for lower borrowing costs ringing in its ears.
Economists believe a quarter-point cut in rates to 4.5 per cent is a virtual certainty as the UK economy splutters and manufacturers and retailers appeal for help.

Only the casting vote of Bank governor Mervyn King stopped the Monetary Policy Committee from cutting rates last month after the other eight members were divided 4-4 in their views.