Britain's Retail Motor Industry Federation has welcomed the Bank of England's 0.5% interest rate cut to 4.5% on Wednesday, one of a number of similar cuts made by central banks around the globe.

The European Central Bank also reduced its rate, and the central banks of the USA, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland all took similar action in a co-ordinated move.

"The Bank of England's decision to cut the interest rate is positive news for the economy, and will hopefully help rebuild consumer confidence," said RMIF director Sue Robinson.

"Consumers desperately needed this long-awaited move, along with other bank support measures put in place by government this morning. All these moves should help to instill consumer confidence and will also help businesses at this difficult time."

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had earlier urged the UK government "to take immediate action to restore consumer confidence" after posting industry sales off 21.2% year on year to 330,295 units in what it called "stormy September".