Transparency of the UK Government's
position towards the IMF
80. We asked witnesses for their views of the annual
Report produced by HM Treasury on its dealings with the IMF. Professor
Portes was dismissive, saying "I did look, in preparation
for coming here, at the latest one and I did not find it something
that I should occupy myself with every year".
Professor Miller was more conciliatory, and told us that he thought
"it is an important part of transparency. Before what the
Executive Directors did or did not do was a matter of mystery.
Now we do have much more transparency. Whether it is a matter
of profound interest is another question".
Mr Woodward however, felt there was room for improvement. He told
us that "it is a useful contribution to transparency but
it is a very, very small step. We have statements being made on
our behalf in the Executive Board at every meeting pretty much
and we have no idea what is being said. We cannot get hold of
those even under the Freedom of Information Act and I think that
raises real issues."
81. The Governor of the Bank of England told the
Committee that HM Treasury report also carried the work conducted
by the Bank at the IMF.
Asked by us if there was anything further the Bank might do to
be more transparent in its dealings, he replied "We are here
today, in front of the cameras, as the Chairman has reminded us.
I think we could not be more transparent than that."
82. To enhance
transparency, we recommend that the UK Government disclose further
information on the Executive Director's dealing with the Executive
Board, and its views of recently published IEO reports. We further
recommend that the UK Government report on its view of the surveillance
remit of the IMF, prior to this being set by the IMFC, to allow
discussion of this view before it is put forward at the IMFC.