Outlook: Bank of England

SUSHIL WADHWANI is in most respects an ideal choice of appointment to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, but that's not going to stop a lot of people claiming he is not. It would be hard to describe Mr Wadhwani as anything other than an academic economist, and that, for many industrialists, trade unionists and politicians, is just what's wrong with the MPC.

What's more, Mr Wadhwani has spent some years working in the financial markets - first for Goldman Sachs and then for one of the world's largest hedge fund operators - and that in the eyes of many should further count against him. What's needed, contends this lobby, is someone firmly grounded in reality, an industrialist with some understanding of the pain being inflicted by high interest rates on manufacturers and others vulnerable to the strong pound. Instead we've got yet another person with his head in the clouds.

Well, perhaps, but actually Mr Wadhwani's expertise and work would seem to qualify him better rather better than most for the impartial decision- making that must lie at the heart of an independent monetary policy. Actually, it is a good thing the MPC is staffed by "experts". To have an industrialist or trade unionist determining interest rates wouldn't seem to be much of an advance on the Chancellor. It is also just as well, given the money the City seems prepared to pay people like Mr Wadhwani these days, that there is still anyone public-spirited enough to do it.

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