Bank Governor ‘mis-spoke’ with ‘apocalyptic’ food price warning, minister claims

International trade minister Ranil Jayawardena says he ‘wouldn’t have used’ the language Andrew Bailey did to describe the rising cost of living.

Amy Gibbons
Friday 20 May 2022 18:48
A Government trade minister has claimed the Bank of England Governor ‘mis-spoke’ when he issued an ‘apocalyptic’ warning about rising food prices (Aaron Chown/PA)
A Government trade minister has claimed the Bank of England Governor ‘mis-spoke’ when he issued an ‘apocalyptic’ warning about rising food prices (Aaron Chown/PA)

A Government trade minister has claimed the Governor of the Bank of England “mis-spoke” when he issued an “apocalyptic” warning about rising food prices.

Ranil Jayawardena, the MP for North East Hampshire, said he “wouldn’t have used” the words Andrew Bailey did, but acknowledged the Government must “make sure that we are helping people with what are challenging times”.

It comes after Mr Bailey delivered a series of bombshell warnings about the impact of rising inflation and admitted he felt “helpless” in the face of global pressures during an appearance before MPs on Monday.

In his evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee, the Governor stressed the war in Ukraine had resulted in an unpredictable jump in inflation, highlighting there was still a “major worry” over further rises in food prices due to the conflict.

“It is a major worry for this country and a major worry for the developing world,” Mr Bailey said.

Andrew Bailey giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee (House of Commons/PA)

“Sorry for being apocalyptic but that is a major concern.”

Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis previously said he was “surprised” by the language Mr Bailey used to describe the rising cost of living while Downing Street said it was up to the Governor to justify his choice of words.

Asked about the matter on Friday, Mr Jayawardena told Times Radio: “I think that he certainly mis-spoke. But, at the same time, we’ve got to make sure that we are helping people with what are challenging times.

“You know, I think there’s very good news that, from July, there’ll be something like 30 million people that will be getting a tax cut and the lowest paid will have been getting a cut beyond what was previously the case earlier this year.”

Put to him that he sounded a bit frustrated by Mr Bailey’s language, he said: “Well, I wouldn’t have used those words. And, certainly, the Government is of course seeking to help people through these tough times.

“I’ve set out a number of the mechanisms: tax cuts, additional payments, thinking for the long run how we grow our economy and grow our way out of these challenges … I think the future for our country is strong. We’ve got to get through these tough times.”

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