At its meeting ending on 5 May 2021, the MPC voted for the Bank of England to continue with its existing programme of UK government bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, maintaining the target for the stock of these purchases at £875 billion.footnote 
The existing programme of £150 billion of UK government bond purchases had started in January and its completion was expected by around the end of 2021. As envisaged since the announcement of the programme in November 2020 and consistent with developments in financial markets since then, the pace of these continuing purchases could now be slowed somewhat. This operational decision should not be interpreted as a change in the stance of monetary policy. As measured by the target stock of purchased assets, that stance remained unchanged.
Asset Purchase Facility: Gilt Purchases
1. This market notice sets out details of the Bank’s planned APF gilt purchases taking place from the week commencing 10 May 2021 up to and including the week commencing 2 August 2021 – which is the week of the MPC’s August meeting. It covers the ongoing £150bn of gilt purchases announced in November 2020footnote , and the reinvestment of proceeds of a gilt maturity occurring on 7 June 2021.
2. The Bank intends to purchase evenly across the three gilt maturity sectors. For operations scheduled between 10 May 2021 and 4 August 2021 the planned size of auctions will be £1.147bn for each maturity sector. This auction size includes the reinvestment of the £16.4bn cash flows associated with the maturity on 7 June 2021 of a gilt owned by the APF.
3. The Bank plans to conduct three 30 minute auctions a week: gilts with a residual maturity of 3-7 years will be purchased on Mondays at 14:15; those with a residual maturity of over 20 years will be purchased on Tuesdays at 14:15; and those with a residual maturity of 7-20 years will be purchased on Wednesdays at 14:15. All times are London time.
4. The Bank will not hold a gilt purchase operation on Monday 31 May 2021 due to the UK bank holiday. This operation - for short maturity bonds - will instead be held on Thursday 3 June 2021.
5. As usual, the size of auctions will be kept under review throughout the purchase programme in light of market conditions.
6. The Bank will confirm details of the following week’s operations each Thursday at 16:00 (London time). The range of gilts eligible for purchase will remain unchanged from previous operations. The Bank does not currently intend to purchase gilts where the Bank holds more than 70% of the “free float”, ie the total amount in issue minus government holdings. The Bank will, however, continue to keep the gilts eligible for purchase by the APF under review.
7. Other than as amended by this Market Notice, previous Market Notices relating to the Bank’s gilt purchases under the APF will apply.footnote 
This is in addition to a target stock of £20bn of corporate bonds, making a total target stock of asset purchases of £895bn.