Bank of England loosens rules ahead of post-Brexit stimulas

The central bank warned repeatedly that a vote to leave the EU would do serious damage to the British economy...

Brexit, UK, EU, Moody's, credit outlook, Europe, tariff barriers

People walk in London's City financial district | Image: Lefteris Pitarakis / AP/Press Association Images

The Bank of England is to ease rules for banks following the EU exit vote, in a move that will allow them to increase lending to households and businesses by up to £150bn.

Measures announced in the Bank's Financial Stability Report are designed to dampen the impact of financial market uncertainty caused by the poll result on the real economy.

Governor Mark Carney said: "The UK has entered a period of uncertainty and significant economic adjustment."

He said the announcement on rules for banks represented a "major change" and would immediately give greater flexibility to three-quarters of UK banks.

"These efforts will mean we can all look ahead, not look over our shoulders," he added.

The report said the announcement was designed to reduce pressure on lenders "to restrict the provision of financial services, including the supply of credit and support for market functioning".

This means the Bank wants to prevent the financial market turmoil that has followed the vote from creating a situation where day-to-day lending to households or businesses tightens or seizes up.

The Bank's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said there was evidence that risks predicted ahead of a potential Brexit vote had "begun to crystallise".

It said: "The current outlook for UK financial stability is challenging."

The new measures are separate from plans likely to be announced later this summer by the Bank on monetary policy stimulus - rate cuts or pumping billions into the economy - to cushion the Brexit blow.

The latest plans will reduce by £5.7bn the "capital buffers" that banks must hold - easing rules that have been tightened in recent years in the wake of the financial crisis - until at least June 2017.

This will raise banks' capacity for lending to UK households and businesses by up to £150bn, the Bank said.