The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6235 level and was supported around the $1.6050 level.  Cable gained 10.71% in 2009.  A Bank of England survey released today reported banks were more willing to lend to homeowners and companies in Q4 2009.  The quarterly credit conditions survey also indicated the availability of mortgage loans is expected to rise in Q1 2010 also.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Nationwide December housing prices rise 0.4% m/m and 5.9% y/y.  Prime Minister Brown talked up the U.K.'s economic growth prospects yesterday but acknowledged the economic recovery remains fragile. Brown must call a general election by early June.  Large spending cuts will likely be required to improve the U.K.'s fiscal position.  Most traders believe Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee remains in a wait-and-see mode and will expand its quantitative easing programs if required.  Monetary policy is expected to remain unchanged until February, however, when Q4 GDP and the latest quarterly inflation report are due.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5755 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as cable tested bids around the ?0.8855 level and was capped around the ?0.8955 level.