Select Committee on Treasury Ninth Report

7  The UK's relationship with the IMF


79. We now turn from the UK Government's policies in relation to the IMF to the way in which the Government informs both Parliament and the people as to its dealings with, and policies in relation to, the Fund. HM Treasury produces an annual report on its dealings with the IMF, following a recommendation made by the Treasury Committee in the 1998-99 session.[184]

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".[185] 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".[186] 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."[187]

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.[188] 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."[189]

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.

184   Second Report, Session 1998-99, The World Economy and the Pre-Budget Report, HC 91-I, recommendation d. Back

185   Q 41 Back

186   Q 42 Back

187   Q 43 Back

188   Q 123 Back

189   Q 124 Back

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