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Brown plans to open up jobs on bank base rate committee

Chancellor Gordon Brown plans to make Bank of England monetary policy committee appointments more transparent by advertising the positions of the four external members when they become vacant.

Speaking for the last time as Chancellor in front of the Treasury select committee last week, Brown said in future a timetable will be published for replacing external MPC members.

He said the Government would invite expressions of interest from economists and publish a list of the qualities needed for the job.

The move follows strong criticism that the selection process for the four of the nine MPC members that are appointed by the Government is too secretive.

The Conservatives have welcomed the move but say it does not go far enough.

Last summer, Tory Shadow Chancellor George Osborne called for the positions to be publicly advertised, for applications to be considered by an expert independent panel chaired by the Treasury, for the TSC to have a formal role scrutinising the decision and for longer non-renewable terms for external MPC members.

Osborne says: “The Chancellor is playing catch-up. Gordon Brown has belatedly signed up to just one of these reforms but he has said nothing about crucial questions of non-renewable terms and the role of Parliament in scrutinising appointees.”

LibDem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable says: “Future appointments should be made on a longer, single-term basis, with scrutiny of the decision by the TSC before the appointment is made.”

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