Over the last few governments, there has been a move to distance the Bank of England from the political process. Successive governments have given it more power to act independently from the ruling party. It’s a process which has been a success and we will see another aspect of this during the election process in the UK over the next few weeks.
Although it may be more accurate to say ‘ you won’t see’ as the Bank of England is now in blackout mode until the election is over. The ‘purdah’ rules came into place at the dissolution of parliament on the 30th March and they state that no BoE officials can make public statements until May 7th when the election takes place.
It’s likely to be a frustrating time for business and those in the financial sectors, as the announcements from Mark Carney or any other officials on a host of important committees are an extremely important source of information. They’ll hear nothing from the Monetary policy committee, the Financial Policy Committee or any of the other bank regulation units that reside under the Bank of England.
Of course, all these functions will still be busy working as normal. There will still be neutral updates and releasing monthly figures as normal. The Bank of England will still make all the decisions it needs to such as controlling inflation, setting interest rates and all the other policies it controls.
These ‘purdah’ rules are an important part of the UK’s democratic systems which are designed to maintain the political impartiality of several important sectors of the UK. They include the UK Civil Service, who are the huge sector of officials that keep the State machinery running. The idea is that no-one in any of these important sectors can influence the result by making any sort of statement which could have political connotations.
This election might involve an even longer blackout this time as there is a distinct possibility that no single party will win control. Most of the opinion polls are pointing to a ‘hung’ result which means that some negotiation will be required to form a government with an operating majority. This would require an even longer blackout than normal as it might be required until a Government is put into place.
The election promises to be hugely exciting with no-one really knowing what will happen. The pollsters seem genuinely unsure about how it will all unfold, there will though be a huge amount of media coverage. If you want to follow the various parties and economic implications then the main media company to follow is the BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation is renowned for it’s political coverage and you can access it all from their web site and the BBC iPlayer application. If you are based outside the United Kingdom though you will need to use a UK based VPN such as this one, in order to access the coverage. It effectively hides your location and routes through a secure UK server in order to access any content only available in the United Kingdom.