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Why does the MPC destroy recordings of its meetings?

Treasury select committee chairman Andrew Tyrie has hit out at the Bank of England for destroying the recordings of monetary policy committee meetings.

The MPC, which meets once a month to set interest rates and quantitative easing levels, records its meetings to produce published monthly minutes giving an overview of topics discussed.

However, the recordings are not transcribed and are later destroyed with no verbatim records remaining.

Under questioning at the TSC today, Bank of England executive director of markets Paul Fisher defended the practice.

He said: “They initially did try to make transcripts, unsuccessfully. It was very hard to actually transcribe the text in a way that made any sense as people talking over each other in a free flowing discussion.

“It would also potentially change the nature of the debate if people had an eye on how they would be recorded.”

Tyrie pointed out the House of Commons transcribed all discussions and called on Governor Mark Carney to review the policy.

Tyrie said: “I have yet to hear a good argument against keeping verbatim records of MPC meetings, published with a long time lag – probably longer than the maximum term of an external member.

“There seems to me to be a good number of arguments for keeping such records, among them, to bolster public confidence that the minutes published after MPC hearings are an accurate reflection of what was said.”

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  1. Some things in life are private. If this becomes public record it will simply end up with committee clamming up. In the quest for transparency things are going toooooo far.

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