Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent apologises for referring to 'menopausal' UK economy past its peak

Rebecca Smith
Broadbent has been tipped as one of the frontrunners to succeed Mark Carney
Broadbent has been tipped as one of the frontrunners to succeed Mark Carney (Source: Getty)

Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent has apologised for using the term "menopausal" to describe the UK economy.

In a statement released this morning, he said:

I'm sorry for my poor choice of language in an interview with the Telegraph yesterday and regret the offence caused.

I was explaining the meaning of the word 'climacteric', a term used by economic historians to describe a period of low productivity growth during the 19th century. Economic productivity is something which affects every one of us, of all ages and genders.

The interview raised eyebrows after Broadbent labelled the UK economy as "menopausal", having moved past peak productivity.

Read more: BoE deputy governor Ben Broadbent says more rate rises are on the way

Broadbent compared the performance to the dip at the end of the 19th century, in between the ages of steam and electricity, with another tech rebirth on the horizon, potentially surrounding artificial intelligence.

He was quoted saying the "menopausal" description was a metaphor used by financial experts for economies "past their peak".

Conservative MP for Devizes Claire Perry, said: "I can't be the only 50+ woman objecting to Broadbent's pejorative description of the UK economy as menopausal. I've never been more productive!"

Fellow Tory MP Rachel Maclean said it demonstrated "massive ignorance of the menopause".

Meanwhile, Robert Peston, ITV's political editor said: "Sloppy, empirically unsound and potentially offensive use of language by Bank of England deputy governor. There is no reason to think menopausal people are less productive or past their peak."

Governor Mark Carney spoke last year of the importance in the Bank of England rejigging its culture to become more inclusive, and the need "to reflect the diversity of the people it serves".

"It isn't enough for us to reflect diversity, however, we need also to choose inclusiveness," he said last February. "That's why as we increase diversity of the Bank, we are focusing on building a culture that values diverse ideas, encourages open debate, and empowers people at all levels to take initiative."

Read more: UK economy grows at slowest rate in five years sending the pound down

Related articles