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Bank of England reform since 1998: is the Bank being asked to do too much?

Monday 13  March 2023

On Tuesday 14 March the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee will be taking evidence on the remit of the Bank of England.

At 3pm, the committee will hear from:

  • Chris Giles, Economics Editor, Financial Times
  • Professor Ricardo Reis, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
  • Neil Williams, Chief Economist, Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.

The meeting will be held in Committee Room 3 of the House of Lords. It will also be streamed live on Parliament TV.

Topics the committee is likely to cover in this session include:

  • Whether too much is being asked of the Bank of England and if there is a case for a return to the Monetary Policy Committee remit of 1998, and Financial Policy Committee remit of 2013.
  • Risks associated with the Bank’s role as both a micro and macroprudential regulator.
  • How the objectives of the Monetary Policy Committee compares to those of the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve.
  • Whether the process of making appointments to the Monetary Policy Committee is working well.
  • Whether the monitoring and commentating on the Monetary Policy Committee’s performance by outside bodies, such as the economics profession and Parliament, is adequate.
  • Whether the introduction of digital currencies simplify or complicate the Bank’s various mandates.
  • Mandatory stipulations pertaining to the size of the Bank’s balance sheet if it continues to use quantitative easing.

More about this inquiry 

2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the Bank of England Act 1998. This Act gave the Bank of England its independence and reformed the structure, responsibilities and functions of the Bank.

The Economic Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry to examine how operational independence is working. It will focus on the Bank’s role and remit; whether the governance structures of the Bank are appropriate; and how the Bank is being held accountable for its actions.

It will not look at individual policy decisions that the Bank has taken.

The committee recently published a call for evidence. The deadline for the submissions is midday on Thursday 13 April 2023.

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