The Bank of England on Thursday raised its key interest rate by a quarter-percentage point to 0.5%, meeting widely held expectations for the first rate hike to be enacted since July 2007. The Monetary Policy Committee voted 7-2 to raise the rate, a move that comes as inflation sits at 3% and British economic growth has slowed. “There remain considerable risks to the outlook, which include the response of households, businesses and financial markets to developments related to the process of EU withdrawal,” the bank said in a statement. The central bank left unchanged the size of its asset purchase program at £435 billion ($574 billion) and its corporate-bond purchase program at £10 billion. The pound GBPUSD, -0.9965% dropped to $1.3129 from $1.3216 ahead of the decision. Sterling late Wednesday traded at $1.3246.