Next BOE Governor Must Be Politically Sensitive, Barker Says

(Bloomberg) --

It’s important that the next governor of the Bank of England is politically sensitive, according to Kate Barker, who is part of the panel interviewing candidates for the job.

“If you’re really appointing a governor for eight years, it’s pretty difficult to foresee the political circumstances through that eight years into which this person is going to have to play themselves,” the former BOE policy maker said at an event at Bloomberg‘s London offices Monday.

“So it is important to have somebody who is going to be properly politically sensitive, not in the sense that they will give up central bank independence, but in the sense that they understand that the credibility of policy is best served by being politically sensitive.”

Mark Carney, the current governor, is due to step down early next year and finding a successor is one of the most high-profile decisions facing new Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid since his appointment in July. A group of lawmakers this week called on him to publish the shortlist of candidates in order to boost transparency and public trust in the selection process.

The campaign group Positive Money, which coordinated the lawmakers, also cited concerns that that the current government might “bypass the selection process” and “install a political ally who did not otherwise make the shortlist.”

Earlier at the event, which marked the launch of the Resolution Foundation’s report on the U.K.’s ability to weather the next recession, Barker also said that its important the central banks and government are able to work together to best serve the country in times of economic turmoil.

“In a recession I don’t think central bank independence matters very much,” she said. “It ought to be the case that the two have every incentive to work together and to work together well.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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