News From the City: The Bank of England Can't Add Up

Posted on Dec 09, 2022. by NTI

What's in a name? Whilst some of us spend a lifetime and a fortune building a brand, for others it is laid on a plate. Take the Bank of England, for example; the United Kingdom's central bank and one on which many other central banks have been modelled. 

"Our mission is to deliver monetary and financial stability for the people of the United Kingdom." They fall short of " ... and to seek out new lives and new civilisations," but we get the picture. It is 25 years since the Bank gained independence over monetary policy and yesterday (Thursday 8 December) financial markets celebrated by pricing in a 78% chance that the central bank will raise rates by half a percentage point to 3.5% on 15 December, with a 22% chance of a rise to 3.75%, according to a Reuters poll.

The Bank of England has hinted time and time again that it is preparing to further raise interest rates over concerns that inflation could become embedded in the UK’s economy. Britney from Hull commented: "Have you seen the price of bread? Embedded? Are you having a laugh?"

Britney is not alone. Official data published by the Bank itself this morning says that public satisfaction with how the Bank of England is tackling inflation has fallen to a record low; 35 per cent of the UK population is dissatisfied with how the central bank is handling inflation. Interestingly, the same survey reports that 23 per cent are satisfied with their performance, whilst net satisfaction dropped to minus 12 per cent, down from minus 3 per cent when the question was last asked in May, and the lowest since records began more than two decades ago.

These are clearly Bank of England numbers, as a brief scan of 35 added to 23, equals 58 per cent, which makes you wonder about the other 42 per cent.

"Them? Oh, they are so disgusted with our performance that they went off in a huff when polled, rather than tell us their thoughts."

You know us in the NTI's newsroom, we refuse to stir the pot ... but how well is Andrew Bailey really doing as Governor of the Bank? Do we think he earned the £575,538 he took home last year?

Meanwhile, that other media favourite, Jeremy Hunt, is said to be redrawing the financial services rule book today, including casting aside some safeguards designed to avoid a repeat of the 2008 crash, in an attempt to boost the City of London as a driver of growth. Don't panic, City minister Andrew Griffith insisted in an interview with the Financial Times that “no one is going for a race to the bottom” on regulation and said it was “absolutely the right time” to revisit post-2008 rules. Phew! Andrew is assured that our banking system is in a much better position in terms of its balance sheet and its understanding of the liabilities that it is managing, than it was when the regulations were introduced 18 years ago.

Andrew and his mates are keen to sell the reforms as being a flagship example of “Brexit opportunities” and some of the proposed changes are only possible on a unilateral basis outside the EU. In this way we know that we should be very, very suspicious of them.

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