Direct Line to Bank of England from Wrexham

One of the Bank of England’s monetary experts has given an “invaluable insight” into the economy to businesses in North Wales.

Bank of England, Wrexham Business Professionals at the Ramada, Wrexham. From left, Steve Hicks, Ben Broadbent, Gill Kreft and Gwyn Evans

Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent attended a lunch organised by the Bank and the round-table session at the town’s Ramada Plaza was attended by around 20 of the area’s top business leaders.

Mr Broadbent was appointed as the deputy governor in charge of monetary policy in 2014 and was previously an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee.

He’s acted as an economic adviser to the Treasury and was Assistant Professor of Economics at Columbia University from 1997-2000, followed by a decade as the Senior European Economist at Goldman Sachs.

Steve Hicks, the Bank of England’s Agent for Wales and who organised the visit, said: “Meetings like this are immensely valuable for Bank of England policy makers to hear first-hand from business leaders how the economy is performing, to add real colour to official statistics and to directly inform policy decisions.

“We are entering what is likely to be a period of significant change for our economy, with the vote to leave the European Union ushering in a new era for the UK’s relationship with the rest of the world.

“Some of the adjustments to this new reality may prove difficult and many will take time. So it is particularly important now that we hear directly from business.

“At challenging times like this, what is always striking is the resilience and versatility of the business community in Wales.

“As circumstances change, companies will adapt to take on new challenges and embrace new opportunities.  And we hope that recent policy actions taken by the Bank of England will play a part in helping them to do that.”

“On August 4 the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee unveiled a comprehensive package of measures to support the economy.

“The package includes a reduction in Bank Rate from 0.5% to 0.25% – the first change in interest rates for seven years – along with a new Term Funding Scheme, to ensure that banks can pass on this cut in the normal way to households and businesses.

“The Bank is also expanding its quantitative easing programme by purchasing £60bn of government bonds and £10bn of UK corporate bonds.”

According to Gill Kreft, the chair of Wrexham Business Professionals, it was like “having a direct line to the Bank of England”.

She said: “Ben is obviously a master of his brief and he gave us a fascinating and helpful insight into how the economy is faring and the prospects for the future.

“It’s important that we are able to hear the latest thinking because it’s like being given a road map outlining what lies ahead which is important when you’re making important decisions in business.

“There was also an opportunity for our members and clients to venture an opinion and explain their analysis on the economic climate and how it was affecting them.”