London, 9 September 2019 – MPs have called on Sajid Javid to make the shortlist of candidates for the next Bank of England governor public, as polling today reveals that only 1 in 5 Britons trust the Chancellor to appoint the right person to head up Britain’s central bank.
28 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, including Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, the Independent Group, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the DUP, signed a letter co-ordinated by Positive Money urging the Treasury to make the list of candidates shortlisted to replace Mark Carney public. The letter comes after YouGov polling of 2,019 adults in Great Britain commissioned by Positive Money found that only 19% trust Sajid Javid to appoint the “right person” to be the next Bank of England governor.
The survey of 2,019 adults in Great Britain found that just over 1 in 20 (6%) trust the Chancellor “a lot” to make the right appointment, while little more than 1 in 10 (13%) say they “trust a little”. This is compared to almost a third (30%) who distrust, with 1 in 5 (20%) saying they “distrust a lot”, and i in 10 (10%) who “distrust a little”. Meanwhile, a third (32%) of respondents said they neither trust or distrust, and a further fifth (20%) said they don’t know.
This intervention from politicians and Positive Money seeks to increase transparency and public trust over the appointment of the next Bank of England governor, who would be expected to serve an eight year term from when Mark Carney steps down in 2020. There are concerns that the government might bypass the selection process, as George Osborne did with his appointment of Mark Carney, to install a political ally who did not otherwise make the shortlist. Publishing the shortlist with candidates’ consent would reveal what options are available to the government and potentially prevent the appointment of an unpopular choice. Doing so would also allow Parliament to offer scrutiny during the appointment process, instead of the opportunity to do so being limited only to the Treasury Select Committee’s pre-appointment hearing, which takes place after the decision has already been made.
In the letter, MPs concur: “With so much at stake, it’s crucial that the appointment of the next governor is made on merit, not narrow political expediency. For public trust in the central bank to be upheld, the process for choosing Mark Carney’s successor must be fair, open and transparent.”
“One simple way in which transparency can be increased is for the Treasury to publish a record of the candidates which have been shortlisted for the role. Doing so would be following the lead of the International Monetary Fund, which has published a shortlist of candidates to be its next managing director”, the letter adds.
Signatories include SNP Commons leader Ian Blackford, Labour shadow ministers Chi Onwurah, Helen Goodman, Louise Haigh and Wayne David, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Ed Davey, Plaid Cymru spokesperson Hywel WIlliams, former Green party leader Caroline Lucas and DUP Brexit spokesperson Sammy Wilson.
Fran Boait, executive director of Positive Money, said:
“The next Bank of England governor will wield huge power over our economy for the next eight years, which will be a key juncture for the future of our society, marked by Brexit, climate breakdown, spiralling inequality and a likely recession or financial crisis on the radar.
“With the political situation so uncertain we cannot leave such a critical appointment to be decided behind closed doors by the Chancellor and Number 10. Instead the process must be opened up to wider scrutiny from parliament and the public, to ensure that the next Bank of England governor serves the whole of society, not just the City of London.”
Notes to editors
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,019 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd – 23rd August 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
- Of the 28 letter signatories, 13 are Labour, 6 are SNP, 5 are Lib Dem, 1 is from The Independent Group for Change, 1 is Green, 1 is DUP and 1 is Plaid Cymru.
- The letter, including signatories, can be viewed in full here.
- Positive Money campaigns for a money and banking system which supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy. Set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Positive Money is a not-for-profit company funded by charitable trusts and foundations, as well as small donations from its network of over 65,000 supporters.
- For more information or to arrange a briefing/interview with a spokesperson or for any other questions please contact Simon Youel at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07817765517