For years, Positive Money has argued that you can’t understand the big fundamental changes that have taken place in our economy without looking at the role of monetary policy. The Bank of England’s £445bn quantitative easing programme has pumped up asset prices and delivered a disproportionate boost to the rich. QE’s knock-on effect on the property market has led to higher housing costs and pushed more and more households into debt.
But for much of the seven years since the Bank of England embarked on QE, the policy has been raised relatively infrequently during debates on the economy in parliament. We’re therefore pleased that the SNP leadership are making this a central part of their message.
The party’s leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, used his response to the Autumn Budget to argue that “The evidence is stark that Quantitative Easing has mostly benefited those who started with considerable wealth.” and told Philip Hammond, “We could have invested in our infrastructure, investing for example in housing, dealing with the demand for housing and dampening the rise in house prices to affordable levels as one example.”
And yesterday, the party’s economy spokesperson Kirsty Blackman made a similar point, saying “We have also been clear that things such as quantitative easing—certainly since the first round of QE—do very little to support those people at the bottom of the pile or to inject money into the real economy, but actually have a disproportionate effect in organisations such as those in the FTSE 100.”
Thousands of Positive Money supporters in Scotland have emailed their MPs, for example asking them to support reopening the Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry into monetary policy. Our team in London have lobbied SNP MPs, for example sharing our new research on the effect of QE on wealth inequality. The party’s new focus shows we’re making a difference.