Andrew Sentance, a former member of Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, hit out at a new BoE policy to publish the minutes from its interest rate setting meeting on the same day as it announces its decision.
He told the BBC’s Radio 4 “Wake Up Money” show this morning that the “rushed out” minutes will create an “information overload” as the public will receive the decision, minutes, and the Quarterly Inflation Report all on the same day.
This is why today is dubbed “Super Thursday.”
He added that since the meeting and decision is now conducted the day before the decision is announced, this will create a great “security risk” because there is a chance that it could be leaked.
The BoE previously waited two weeks before publishing the minutes from its meeting about how it came to the final decision to whether to move or keep interest rates unchanged. It also includes how and which way members voted. However, it changed its policy to publish the minutes as well as its decision to the same day.
The change in policy was intended to be “more transparent,” said BoE governor Mark Carney earlier this year.
This now means that BoE members only have 18 hours from the when the meeting took place, a Wednesday, to write up the notes, redraft and edit and get it ready for release on a Thursday. Previously, “there used to be two rounds of drafts and members of the MPC would then comment and then meet to agree the final version of the minutes,” said Sentance.
Sentance, who is now a senior economic advisor for accountancy firm PwC, said this could lead to minutes that are “not as informative” as they used to be.
The BoE is set to reveal that UK interest rates will remain unchanged at a record of low of 0.5% at 12.00 p.m. BST. Rates have stayed this way since March 2009.
However, Sentance said that it’s likely that “two or three members of the committee” voted for rise in rates. He added that he thinks rates will rise this year.