Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan 'disappointed' at chancellor's efforts to bolster diversity at the Bank of England

by

Treasury Select Committee chair Morgan said the Treasury could not be complacent with its efforts (Source: Getty)

The chair of the Treasury Select Committee warned today the Treasury "can't be complacent" in tackling the lack of diversity at the Bank of England.

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan said she was "disappointed" at the chancellor's response to her written request for confirmation that all efforts are being made to encourage as diverse a range of candidates as possible for the Bank's policy committees, and the most senior positions at the Bank.

Morgan had also sought assurance that the Treasury's recruitment processes for appointments to the Bank's policy committees is of the same standard as appointments within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. 

Read more: Bank of England needs more diversity Morgan tells chancellor Hammond

The committee approved the Treasury's two most recent appointments of Dave Ramsden as deputy governor, while Silvana Tenreyro joined as an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee.

But it also warned last month that it was concerned about the composition of the committees, and the level of diversity among senior levels of the Bank of England.

Today, Morgan said: 

The committee is disappointed by the chancellor’s response. He did not confirm whether ‘all efforts’ are being made by the Treasury to encourage as diverse a range of candidates as possible for the Bank’s policy committees and senior positions.

Rather, the Treasury ‘seeks to encourage’ such diversity. Such appointments could benefit from a closer relationship between the Treasury and the Government Equalities Office.

Evidence shows that employers must actively search for the best possible candidates; the Treasury can’t be complacent in tackling the lack of diversity at the Bank’s most senior levels.

Chancellor Philip Hammond wrote in his letter, dated 26 October: "The government values diversity and continues to take steps to improve diversity in both the public and private sector. I can confirm that we do indeed seek to encourage as diverse a range of candidates as possible for the Bank's policy committees." 

Hammond added that he recognised the issues raised by the committee, saying: "We are obliged to protect the personal data of applicants, but where possible we will share anonymised data with you in summary form where we have the consent of applicants to do so."

The Committee will take evidence next month from Tom Scholar, permanent secretary of HM Treasury, and Morgan said MPs will take the opportunity to scrutinise whether the Treasury could be doing more to encourage greater diversity. 

Senior female representation at the Bank has been dented after the resignation of deputy governor Charlotte Hogg earlier this year. She stepped down after a report by the Treasury Select Committee raised conflict of interest concerns, saying her competence "falls short of the very high standards" needed to fulfil the role's responsibilities. 

Meanwhile, Minouche Shafik left her deputy governor role in February for the London School of Economics, and in June, Kristin Forbes finished her three-year term as an external member of the MPC.

Read more: Treasury assembles crack squad to keep watch over RBS' £775m cash handouts