The Bank of England left interest rates at a record low 0.5 percent for a second month running on Thursday and said it would increase the size of its asset purchase programme by 50 billion pounds.

The announcement raises its quantitative easing programme to 125 billion pounds.

The central bank has cut interest rates by a total of 4.5 percentage points since October as Britain's economy plunged into its first recession since the early 1990s.

The BoE signaled in early March that conventional monetary policy had reached its limits and embarked on a 75 billion pound programme to buy assets with newly-created money to boost the supply of credit.

So far it had bought more than 50 billion pounds of assets, mainly government bonds, putting it on track to complete the original programme by early June.

Britain's economy shrank at its fastest pace since 1979 in the first three months of this year, and looks set to record its worst full-year performance since World War Two.

However, recent surveys suggest the pace of decline is slowing. Consumer confidence has picked up markedly over the past two months, equity prices have jumped by a fifth and money market strains appear to be easing.