Select Committee on Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England Report


27 JULY 1999



The House of Lords appointed, on 7 December 1998, a Select Committee to consider the operation of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. The Committee, whose members are listed in Appendix 1, met on 29 occasions, taking evidence on 19 of them. We are most grateful to our Specialist Adviser, Professor Michael Wickens of the University of York, for his invaluable advice and technical assistance. We are also grateful to our witnesses, who are listed in Appendix 2, and whose evidence is printed in Volume II of this Report. We are grateful in particular to the Bank of England and Her Majesty's Treasury for their assistance; to the European Central Bank and the Deutsche Bundesbank, our hosts on a visit to Frankfurt; and to M Jean-Claude Trichet, Governor of the Banque de France, for taking the trouble to visit us in London. Where witnesses are quoted in the report, "Q" refers to the question number for oral evidence and "p" to the page number for written evidence in Volume II.

When the Liaison Committee recommended the establishment of this Committee it invited us to consider whether the subject matter warranted the appointment of a permanent sessional scrutiny committee. It has become clear to us during our enquiry that the time allowed for us has been sufficient only to scratch the surface of a vast and developing subject. We are mindful, in reporting to the House, that our Report can only be a mere introduction to a new policy that requires in-depth and continuing scrutiny. We beg leave of the House to consider the reappointment of the Committee in the new session as a permanent Select Committee. Without a Committee such as ours the Monetary Policy Committee would effectively cease to be accountable to one of the two Houses of Parliament.

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