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