Hampshire businesses to quiz Bank of England policymaker

A leading economic expert who helps set the UK’s interest rates is the guest speaker at a breakfast briefing organised by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

As a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Ian McCafferty has direct input to decisions on the official base rate that underpins the cost of borrowing.

He also has a say in managing inflation targets, quantitative easing and other high-profile measures designed to stimulate growth in the economy.

Mr McCafferty, a former chief economic adviser to the CBI, will join Hampshire Chamber members for breakfast at the Basingstoke Country Hotel on Wednesday, 22 May.

Maureen Frost, Hampshire Chamber’s Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “It’s a golden opportunity for members to ask searching questions on the economic situation to someone who has personal influence on monetary policy. Key issues will no doubt include business confidence, support for exporters and whether the new Funding for Lending Scheme is likely to have any real impact on credit conditions for companies.”

The MPC meets for two and half days every month and comprises eight members along with the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. It is designed to be independent of political interference. Each member has one vote and their decisions are given regular public scrutiny including by the Treasury Select Committee.

Mr McCafferty joined the MPC in September 2012. He has recently said he believes the economy is healthier than headline figures suggest, helped by the MPC’s continuing policy of holding interest rates at very low levels. On the other hand he has accepted that inflation is likely to remain above the Bank of England’s 2% target for the next two years.

The breakfast takes place at the Basingstoke Country Hotel on Wednesday, 22 May, beginning at 7.30am.