The business on...Andrew Sentance, Economist


A hawk or a dove?


He's the hawk-in-chief. He's the sole member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which sets our interest rates, calling for a rise in the cost of borrowing to address inflation concerns (the rest of the panel is more worried about Britain returning to recession).

And yesterday, he graced the pages of The Sun, which doesn't often commission op-ed pieces from eminent economists, arguing that the spending cuts wouldn't jeopardise the economic recovery.

Is the Chancellor grateful?

He ought to be. While George Osborne has had plenty of support from leading business figures for his deficit-busting plans, economists have been less complimentary. David Blanchflower, a former sparringpartner of Mr Sentance's on the MPC, described the cuts yesterday as "the biggest – and riskiest – macroeconomic experiment undertaken by any advanced country in living memory".

So who's on Mr Sentance's side?

Remarkably few professional economists. Indeed, at least two Nobel Prize winners, Paul Krugman and Christopher Pissarides, are telling anyone who'll listen that Mr Sentance – and the Chancellor – have got it wrong.

What do these guys know about real life, anyway?

Well, to be fair to Mr Sentance, his career has included stints in theprivate sector as well as academia. He's a former head of economicpolicy at the Confederation of British Industry and also had a stint as chief economist at British Airways.

Music to the Government's ears.

Funny you should say that: Mr Sentance is an accomplished musician who plays a string of instruments.

All posh classical stuff, no doubt?

Don't judge a book by its cover. Mr Sentance is a star of Revelation, an Essex-based pop group for whom he appears on bass, guitar and vocals. They're available for bookings (assuming the MPC isn't sitting) and you'll find them on the web.

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