Mark Carney defends Bank of England expertise from attacks by pro-Brexit politicians such as Michael Gove

Mr Carney made an indirect reference to recent attacks on ‘experts’ in remarks on Thursday

Ben Chu
Economics Editor
Thursday 28 September 2017 10:36 BST
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Mark Carney: The need for the Bank to be open and accountable is greater than ever

The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, has defended the expertise of the Bank of England from attacks launched at it by pro-Brexit politicians such as Michael Gove.

During the European Referendum campaign Mr Gove claimed that “the British people have had enough of experts” and Mr Carney himself was heavily criticised by Brexiteers for warning that voting to leave the EU might result in a UK recession.

Mr Carney made an indirect reference to these attacks in his opening remarks at a Bank of England conference on Thursday to mark 20 years of operational independence for the central bank.

“The need for the Bank to be open and accountable is greater than ever, not only because of the growing distrust of institutions and the ‘experts’ who reside within them, but also because better public understanding makes our policies more effective,” he said.

Mr Gove, who is now the Environment Secretary, wrote a column in The Times in October 2016 in which he returned to his referendum theme of deprecating expertise and also suggested that Mr Carney was not “truly independent”.

“Mark Carney may be many thing but – like the rest of us – he is neither always infallible nor truly independent,” Mr Gove wrote.

The UK economy did not suffer a recession after the June 2016 Brexit vote.

But sterling experienced a record plunge and GDP growth has since fallen sharply from the 0.7 per cent rate at the end of 2016 to just 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, the slowest in the G7.

In his remarks on Thursday Mr Carney re-iterated the Bank’s view that Brexit will inflict damage on the UK economy in the medium term by making it harder to trade with the rest of the EU.

“Even though monetary policy cannot prevent the weaker real income growth likely to accompany the transition to new trading arrangements with the EU, it can influence how this hit to incomes is distributed between job losses and price rises,” he said.

The Bank is now expected to raise interest rates in November, which would be the first increase since 2007, in order to rein in inflation which hit 2.9 per cent in August.

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