The Bank of England voted on Thursday to buy 75 billion pounds ($115 billion) more in assets to shield Britain's economy from the euro zone debt crisis and keep the faltering recovery going.

Thursday's decision to expand its asset purchase program to a total of 275 billion pounds highlights the precarious state of Britain's economy as global growth slows, government spending cuts and tax hikes bite and consumers face high inflation and slow wage rises.

The bank kept interest rates on hold at a record-low 0.5 percent.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had reckoned there was a 40 percent chance the central bank would restart its asset purchase program, or quantitative easing, this month.

A number of policymakers had flagged their readiness to join arch-dove Adam Posen and vote for more quantitative easing after many had already seen the case for more easing strengthening at the September meeting.

Britain's economy has basically flatlined over the past 12 months. With the government's hands tied by its pledge to erase a budget deficit of some 10 percent, pressure has been mounting on the bank over the last couple of months to do more to support the economy.

All eyes will now be on the European Central Bank later this session to see if it primes markets for pre-Christmas interest rate cuts.

The BoE has kept interest rates at 0.5 percent for more than 2-1/2 years -- already its longest period of inaction since World War Two. The BoE had kept its stock of asset purchases at 200 billion pounds since February 2010, when the economy was picking up after a deep recession.

But the momentum shifted over the summer from a bias to hike rates to more easing, even though inflation is set to hit 5 percent soon, as equity markets slumped and the euro crisis triggered fears of bank collapses and a renewed recession.

(Reporting by Sven Egenter and Fiona Shaikh; Editing by Hugh Lawson)