Take an Aspirin! WHAT BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR EDDIE GEORGE TOLD THE HARD-PRESSED BOSSES

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Byline: DAVID NORRIS

EDDIE GEORGE angered hard-pressed businessmen last night by saying all he could do to ease their worries was offer them an aspirin.

Asked what advice he had for a struggling boss, particularly one trying to do business in the crumbling Asian economies, the Bank of England governor replied: 'I have to tell you there is not a lot I can do about that.

'I could seek to ease his pain but only by giving him an aspirin. And actually the underlying pain would be worse later on if I did.' The remark, on BBC2's Money Programme, came as figures from business information service Dun

& Bradstreet showed the number of firms going bust rose by 6.2 per cent last year to an average of 775 a week.

Recent Government statistics indicate Britain's manufacturing industry is in the grip of the longest downturn for 18 years.

In the manufacturing heartland of the West Midlands, Mr George's aspirin offer provoked fury.

Roger Dickens, president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, went on the attack over

the series of interest rate rises imposed last year by the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee, chaired by Mr George. These resulted in a super-strong pound, which hit companies' exports by making their goods dearer overseas, while at the same time sucking in cheaper imports. …