LONDON (AP) â¿¿ The Bank of England has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent as new Governor Mark Carney presses ahead with a pledge to keep monetary policy loose until the U.K. economy improves. The decision was widely expected, as Carney has said the bank would refrain from raising rates until unemployment fell from the current 7.8 percent to 7 percent. The bank estimates that this could take about three years â¿¿ but with the economy showing signs of life in recent weeks, economists have suggested the policy could end sooner than planned. In a speech this month, Carney said the bank's task now is to secure the fledgling recovery and offer a chance to develop into a period of sustained and robust growth. The bank's Monetary Policy Committee also voted not to put more money into the British economy. The bank has pumped 375 billion pounds into the economy since January 2009 through its bond-buying program.