Ex-Governor George Says Bank Deliberately Fuelled Consumer Boom ; BUSINESS
Padgham, Jane, The Independent (London, England)
The Bank of England deliberately stoked the consumer boom that has led to record house prices and personal debt in order to avert a recession, the former Bank Governor Eddie George admitted yesterday.
Lord George said he and his colleagues on the Monetary Policy Committee "did not have much of a choice" as they battled to prevent the UK being dragged into a worldwide economic slump by slashing interest rates. And he said his legacy to the current MPC was to "sort out" the problems he had caused.
Lord George, who headed the Bank for a decade from 1993, revealed to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that he knew the approach was not sustainable. "In the environment of global economic weakness at the beginning of this decade... external demand was declining and related to that, business investment was declining," he said. "We only had two alternative ways of sustaining demand and keeping the economy moving forward - one was public spending and the other was consumption.
"We knew that we were having to stimulate consumer spending. We knew we had pushed it up to levels which couldn't possibly be sustained into the medium and long term. But for the time being, if we had not done that, the UK economy would have gone into recession just as the United States did. …