Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 177-179)


24 APRIL 2007

  Q177 Chairman: Good morning and welcome to this evidence session on the MPC ten years on. For the shorthand writer can you introduce yourselves please, starting with Professor Besley?

  Professor Besley: My name is Tim Besley and I am an External member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

  Professor Blanchflower: David Blanchflower, also an External member of the MPC.

  Ms Barker: Kate Barker, External member of the MPC.

  Dr Sentance: Andrew Sentance, External member of the MPC.

  Q178  Chairman: Good morning everyone and can I start by congratulating Kate on her reappointment as a MPC member.

  Ms Barker: Thank you.

  Q179  Chairman: You have our congratulations. Can I ask you a question as a result of that. How important do you think the role of the external members of the MPC body has been, and maybe in particular your contribution?

  Ms Barker: Having external members on the Committee is extremely important because it has been clear to me in the time I have been on the Committee—and I have obviously been able to observe a number of other external members—that a fresh appointment frequently brings some different views and some different thinking. The other advantage of it is that it enables the Chancellor to draw on people from a range of backgrounds, and in particular it enables him to add financial markets experience to the panel or, of course, business experience. Both Andrew Sentance and I bring business experience at the moment. In terms of my own contribution to the panel over the past, I have brought the business experience that I acquired both at the Ford Motor Company and indeed of course working for the CBI. In the course of time I have been on the Committee I have done two reports for the Government on both housing and planning, the first of which in particular has enriched my understanding of the housing market. I have been able to bring quite a lot of that back to the Committee. The other role which I have tried to play is on communication. I have been a very assiduous visitor of the regions, talking to business audiences and engaging business audiences and also wider audiences. I am always keen to engage wider audiences with an understanding of what the Committee does.

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