Growing Unease About Old Lady’s Secrecy

Remember Something Odd in the Banking Bill from early December? Guido was suspicious about the removal of the requirement of the Bank of England to tell us how much money it is printing:
The 1844 Banking Bill ensured transparency in the operations of the Bank of England. It has been good enough for over 164 years.


Surely it can’t be that they don’t want us to know how fast the Bank of England’s printing presses are going to be running?

The Telegraph’s economics editor has just cottoned on to the dodge:

The Government is set to throw out the 165-year old law that obliges the Bank to publish a weekly account of its balance sheet – a move that will allow it theoretically to embark covertly on so-called quantitative easing. The Banking Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, abolishes a key section of the law laid down by Robert Peel’s Government in 1844 which originally granted the Bank the sole right to print UK money.

… Debating the issue in the House of Lords recently, Lord James of Blackheath, a Conservative peer, said: “Remove [this] control and there is nothing to stop an unreported and unmonitored flooding of the money market by the undisciplined use of the printing presses. If we went down that path we would be following a road which starts in Weimar, goes on through Harare and must not end in Westminster and London. That is the great fear that the abolition of that section will bring about – but the Bill abolishes it.”

You read it here first…

UPDATE 12 Jan : The FT is calling it Quantitative Easing Confidential. Guido is quite chuffed to have beaten the FT to the story.


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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too left-wing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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