Since Mark Carney has made the debate about flexible inflation popular, the members of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Treasury Select Committee seem keen to impress that they are fans of some degree of flexibility.
Earlier Ian McCafferty noted that the Bank has effectively had a flexible regime since birth. His colleague Paul Tucker agreed, saying that the actions of the Bank "should assure everybody that we are flexible inflation targeters". Charles Bean argued that the legitimate argument isn't whether you have an inflation target that is flexible or rigid, but about how much flex there is.
At the moment, the target is clearly being treated as de facto “flexible”– in other words, it is inevitably missed. It will now become de jure flexible. The danger, of course, is that this merely rationalises permanently high inflation. So this change could be positive – but it is fraught with risks.