Veteran of the MPC leaves after turbulent decade

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The Independent Online

The longest serving external member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is to step down.

After nine years Kate Barker will quit the MPC when her current term ends on 31 May. Her position will be advertised early in the next Parliament, according to the Treasury, which will formally make the appointment. The timing will leave a vacancy on the Committee for as short time, but will avoid having to find a replacement during an election period.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, thanked Ms Barker, pictured, for her contribution.

Mr Darling said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kate for the major contribution she has made since she joined the committee.

"During this period, her perspective has been extremely valuable, both to the work of the MPC and also to the Government through the independent reviews she has completed on housing supply and land use planning."

She joined the MPC as an external member in June 2001, having previously served as the chief economic adviser at the CBI. Prior to that she worked for Ford and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. A previous stint in monetary policy making for Ms Barker was her time on the then chancellor Kenneth Clarke's Panel of Independent Economic Advisers, the forerunner of the MPC, in 1996 to 1997. She studied economics at Oxford.

During her time on the MPC, Ms Barker displayed a "middle of the road" voting pattern, generally in line with the consensus and with the Governor, Mervyn King. In a statement Mr King added: "She has brought valuable insight to the committee's deliberations and will be missed when she leaves."