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Finding UK bank base rates

Research guide

Updated: 30 Nov 2022 Update History

The base rate is an interest rate set by banks as a benchmark for pricing loans. It’s frequently encountered in the home loans market; many banks and building societies offer base rate tracking mortgages. This guide lists the best sources for UK bank base rates on the web and in the ICAEW Library.

How the Library can help

The ICAEW Library has compiled this guide to help everyone to find the base rates they need.

The Library enquiry team can also help ICAEW members, ACA students and other authorised users with requests for base rates data. Library staff can consult print sources held in our collection on your behalf.

If you would like to know more about the information we can offer, please call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, email library@icaew.com or contact us through webchat.

Things to look out for

When using any base rate data it's important to remember that different sources are used to compile these figures.

In some instances the data is taken from just one bank; in other cases it's a compilation. One indicator of multiple data sources is a spread of rates on the same day — eg, 5-5.25.

Official Bank Rate

The UK Official Bank Rate is the rate paid on deposits with the Bank of England reserve. It's set by the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee in response to economic conditions. The retail banks usually follow this lead, though they have the freedom not to.

A Minimum Lending Rate was set by the Bank of England until 20th August 1981. Following this, rates were set by the government through the Bank of England. Since 1997, responsibility for setting the base rate has rested solely with the Bank of England. The Bank's decisions are minuted and published online by the Monetary Policy Committee.

The Official Bank Rate from 1694 to the present day is available from the Bank's of England's website.

Retail bank base rates

Retail banks usually match the Official Bank Rate, but they are not obliged to do so.

Some of them, but not all, publish their base rates online — for example:

In addition, the journals Moneyfacts and Business Moneyfacts publish the current and previous base rates for a number of retail banks. The Library holds Moneyfacts from 2010-2020, and Business Moneyfacts from 2010 onwards. We can provide information from these publications to ICAEW members. Non-members may be able to view these publications in local reference libraries.

Finance House Base Rate (FHBR)

The Finance House Base Rate (FHBR) was set and published by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) until 31 December 2019. The FLA described the rate as "a base on which to calculate lending charges in certain industrial and commercial contracts where it is appropriate to vary rates during the period of the agreement."

The FLA website includes a spreadsheet giving the FHBR for each month from January 1970 to December 2019, when it ceased to exist.

A three page briefing paper is available explaining the history of the FHBR, the reasons for its cessation, and possible approaches to handling contracts which reference the FHBR after 31st December 2019.

Other sources

Abstract of British Historical Statistics

Abstract number 17 in the Abstract of British Historical Statistics contains a table showing changes in the Bank Rate from 1797-1939, reproduced from the Bank of England. The Library holds a copy of this publication in its off-site store.


Accountancy magazine published a monthly Data Briefing from July 1995 to September 2011, showing base rates for the previous two years. The Library holds a complete archive of this title for this period.

The British Economy: Key Statistics 1900-1970

The Times Newspapers publication The British Economy: Key Statistics 1900-1970 contains the annual ranges of bank rates from 1900 to 1970. These data are drawn from the Times Newspaper. The Library holds a copy of this publication in its off-site store.

Financial Statistics

The Office for National Statistics publication Financial Statistics (now discontinued) published retail bank base rates and the FHBR until July 2011 — see tables 7.1J and 7.1K.

Issues published between June 2006 and July 2011 are available in PDF format via the National Archives website.

In addition, the ICAEW Library holds print copies of the January issues from 1995 until 2012 (containing figures for 1 January 1982 to 1 September 2009), and the Guildhall Library holds print copies from 1962 to 2018.

GEE Tax Factbook

Table 7:10.2 in the GEE Tax Factbook lists bank rates from 24th August 1939 to 6th December 2007. Information on the Library's holdings for this title can be found in its catalogue record.

Moneyfacts and Business Moneyfacts

As well as giving the current and previous base rates for a number of retail banks, the monthly journals Moneyfacts and Business Moneyfacts show the Official Bank Rate for approximately the last 25 years, and the monthly FHBR for the final five years of its existence.

The Library holds Moneyfacts from 2010-2020, and Business Moneyfacts from 2010 onwards.

Related resources

For guidance on how to find other related information, see the following pages:

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