The global financial crisis is the worst since at least the 1930s "if not ever," said Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King.
King offered his assessment after the bank's Monetary Policy Committee decided Thursday to pump $116.9 billion into the British economy to try to avoid a new credit crisis and recession, The Daily Telegraph reported.
"This is the most serious financial crisis we've seen, at least since the 1930s, if not ever," King said. "We're having to deal with very unusual circumstances, but to act calmly to this and to do the right thing."
When announcing its decision, the bank said the eurozone debt crisis created "severe strains in bank-funding markets and financial markets."
The Monetary Policy Committee also said the inflation-driven "squeeze on households' real incomes" and spending cuts enacted by the government will affect domestic spending for some time, the Telegraph reported.
The committee also voted to keep the bank rate at its historic low of 0.5 percent, another decision that will harm savers, economists said.
Witnesses said protesters marched outside of the Bank of England's headquarters, breaking a piggy bank to demonstrate how retirees and others would have to raid their savings to keep pace with the cost of living.