Bank of England to shed light on financial crisis

By Nicole Miskelly | 5 January 2015

Minutes detailing the Bank of England’s response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis will be revealed this week. The decision to release the meetings of the Bank of England'd directors between 2007 and 2009 comes after requests from the Treasury select committee for the Bank to become more accountable.

Alongside the 2007 to 2009 minutes, the Bank will also publish minutes of meetings from 1914 to 1946. In an attempt to become more transparent and enhance accountability and governance the Bank pledged to publish the minutes up to 1987 during 2015.

The Bank’s board of directors (known as the court) consists of the governor, three deputy governors and nine members of the Bank’s oversight committee. The Guardian reports that Sir David Lees (Chairman of the court from June 2009 to July 2014) told MPs on the select committee that he had read the court minutes relating to financial stability during the crisis but refused to publish them because they were not part of the Freedom of Information Act.

The minutes, in combination with the recent Winters and Stockton and Plenderleith reviews are expected to provide a more comprehensive record of the central Bank’s activities during the crisis and also provide insights into the thinking at the highest level of the Bank when Mervyn King was governor.

According to the Guardian, King told the Today programme last week that it was “fun” working with Ben Bernanke, the former head of the US Federal Reserve to solve the crisis. King also refused to assign blame for the crisis when asked during a guest editing position at the BBC Radio 4 programme if he believes it was Labour’s fault. “I am not going to talk about individual parties’ culpability because I think the real problem was a shared intellectual view right across the entire political spectrum,” King said.

The Bank said last month that the minutes would be published in redacted form. “Redactions to the minutes will be minimal, and confined to certain specific categories including for example the need to protect the security of the Bank and its staff, and to comply with legal requirements,” the Bank of England said.

The most recent minutes published by the Bank show reservations at the October meeting about publishing the crisis minutes, however, the decision was taken to release the minutes because the Bank had not produced a formal review of the period. 

 

By Nicole Miskelly, bobsguide Lead Journalist

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