Other roles and responsibilities
11. External members of the MPC are appointed to
the Bank staff and are expected to spend the equivalent of about
three days per week on MPC-related work. However, they may engage,
with the permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in outside
activities that do not present a conflict of interest to their
role on the MPC.
12. Professor Blanchflower noted in his answers to
the preliminary questionnaire:
I will continue to keep an office at Dartmouth College
but will have no teaching duties and will be on 'leave on own
charges'. I will also have a part-time visiting appointment at
the University of Stirling and will give a few classes a year
to graduate students in the Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics.
I will continue with my consulting practice in the United States
which involves work as an expert witness in public sector wage
setting and as a consulting expert for a variety of public entities
on the operation of programs for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises
in the construction industry.
13. We questioned Professor Blanchflower on the possible
practical difficulties in combining his roles as an academic and
consultant with his work as a member of the MPC. Professor Blanchflower
assured the Committee that, despite working in both the United
Kingdom and the United States, he intended making regular speeches
and regional visits in the United Kingdom, and that he would make
himself available to this Committee in order to give evidence
on the Bank of England's inflation reports.
Assessment of personal independence
and professional competence
Blanchflower brings considerable relevant experience and knowledge
to the MPC, in particular on labour market issues. In addition,
Professor Blanchflower has considerable experience of the economy
of the United States and his continuing experience of the US economy
will be useful in MPC discussions on the global factors influencing
the United Kingdom economy. We note that Professor Blanchflower
intends to maintain working commitments in the United States.
In setting interest rates, it is important to take account of
the whole range of regional factors in the United Kingdom economy.
In addition, the credibility of the MPC is enhanced through members
meeting with members of the public and business leaders, both
to explain the reasons behind MPC decisions and to gain further
insight into the British economy. Accordingly, we would expect
Professor Blanchflower to take an extremely active role in the
Bank's efforts to communicate with business people and others
in the United Kingdom economy, notwithstanding his working commitments
in the United States. Indeed, the fact that Professor Blanchflower
will be dividing his time between the United Kingdom and the USA
means that he will need to devote particular energy to fulfilling
diary commitments in the regions of England and in Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland.
15. We are satisfied
that Professor Blanchflower fulfils our criteria for appointment
of personal independence and professional competence. We wish
him every success in his new role as a member of the MPC.
4 HM Treasury, press notice, Appointment to the
Monetary Policy Committee, 22 March 2006 Back
Ev [reference to evidence] Back