The Bank of England extended its quantitative easing programme on Thursday, raising the size of its bond purchase scheme to an unexpectedly large 175 billion pounds from 125 billion, and held interest rates at 0.5 percent.

The decision enables the central bank to continue its programme of asset purchases with newly created money -- which it started in March to boost Britain's recession-hit economy -- as the last of the 125 billion pounds was spent in late July.

The Committee expects the announced programme to take another three months to complete. The scale of the programme will be kept under review, it said in a statement.

Economists had been evenly split on whether the BoE would choose effectively to print more money to buy assets such as government bonds and corporate debt. None had expected a change in Britain's record-low interest rates.

The BoE has received approval from Britain's finance ministry for the extra money. When the BoE launched QE with an initial 75 billion pounds in March, the finance ministry had allowed it to create up to 150 billion pounds of new money.

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by David Stamp)