Strictly star (and former shadow chancellor) Ed Balls wants Bank of England independence reformed

 
Rebecca Smith
Ed Balls has waltzed his way into the nation's favour on Strictly
Ed Balls has waltzed his way into the nation's favour on Strictly (Source: Getty)

The star of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 has spoken out on the Bank of England's independence.

Yes, that's right: former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has called for the BoE's independence to be curbed in response to growing "popular discontent".

He has co-authored an academic paper on central bank independence saying: "We need a more nuanced approach to central bank independence in this brave new world."

Read more: Ed Balls. Former Labour MP is 100/1 outsider for Strictly crown.

Appearing on the Today programme today to discuss his paper with James Howat and Anna Stansbury, Balls said: "I think the case for independent central banks is as strong as it has ever been," but added there should be more accountability.

Balls feels the Bank needs more political support as well as accountability, and there should be a "systemic risk body", chaired by the chancellor, to oversee policy.

Disenchantment with central bankers has been bubbling as critics question whether maintaining interest rates close to zero and upping asset prices is working.

Balls also criticised the Prime Minister for slamming low interest rates; May had said they benefited the rich but made savers poorer.

Read more: Mark Carney accuses politicians of "blame-deflection" tactics

BoE governor Mark Carney said last month that he wouldn't be told what to do by politicians.

He said: "Where it can be difficult sometimes is if there are political comments on our policies as opposed to political comments on our objectives. The objectives are what are set by the politicians, the policies are done by technocrats."

Balls defended the BoE over its current loose monetary policy, saying its low interest rate was the "only thing" stopping the economy moving into depression.

Carney came under fire from pro-Leave supporters due to his warnings over Brexit, though in the immediate aftermath of the vote he was praised for his calm and steady approach.

Balls said it was "very worrying" to see Carney being attacked for his policies.

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