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Monday, December 11, 2017

Labour's Tokenistic Gesture To Move The Bank of England To Birmingham

Seemingly Labour is considering relocating most of the Bank of England (The Old lady of Threadneedle Street) to Birmingham if it wins power at the next general election.

The FT reports that consultants commissioned by John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, have concluded that the central bank’s base in Threadneedle Street is “unsatisfactory and leads to the regions being underweighted in policy decisions.”

They have recommended moving “some functions” to Birmingham, to be located “next door or close to” the National Investment Bank and Strategic Investment Board, organisations that Labour plans to create on entering government. Labour’s policy review will include whether the governor should also be based in Birmingham.

“All three, side-by-side, would constitute a new ‘economic policy’ hub,” said an interim report by consultants GFC Economics and Clearpoint Corporation Management. The report suggested moving the BoE’s premises “close to” Birmingham’s main train station, saying a relocation would “provide a clear, visible example of a new government’s determination to promote growth and a rebalancing of the economy”.

Well this is all very well and tokenistic. However, given that McDonnell's first act (if Labour gain power) would be to take over the Bank and remove its independence, moving it away from its main stakeholders (ie the Labour government) seems a tad stupid.

Whilst we are on the subject, given that Unite's head office is in Holborn, whilst Unison, TSSA and the RMT are all headquartered in Euston; will Labour ask them to relocate as well?

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