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The Bank of England has a mission: to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom

November 21, 2017

Thomas Attwood, political campaigner and Member of Parliament, was the leading figure in the successful public campaign for the Great Reform Act of 1832 strongly resisted by the ‘landed interest’. In Birmingham and London it was estimated that over 100,000 people attended demonstrations in favour of this parliamentary reform.

A parliamentary website focussing on ‘the Birmingham connection’ adds that on 7 May 1832 the Gathering of the Unions, also known as the Meeting of the Unions, was held on Newhall Hill – a giant demonstration involving 200,000 people and 40 Unions.

The act addressed the unequal distribution of seats, extended the votes to the less affluent and abolished ‘rotten boroughs’. It is said (Ziegler, King William IV) that when the Houses of Parliament burnt down in 1834, Queen Adelaide thought it was divine punishment for passing the Great Reform Act

As a British banker and economist, Thomas Attwood argued that Britain should have a paper currency which was not tied to gold – now taken for granted.

His second proposal: that the government should base the supply of money on the productive capacity of the economy and regulate it so as to be sufficient to maintain full employment – is somewhat relevant to MP Caroline Lucas’ Green QE proposal (2016) which Attwood might well have supported.

Caroline Lucas is a member of the Green New Deal Group, convened by Colin Hines. GND wants money funnelled into environmentally beneficial infrastructure projects via “green quantitative easing”, helping to make the country more resilient to flooding, and reduce the threat of climate change by making every building in the country energy-efficient, and creating, she suggested, “huge numbers of jobs in every constituency”.

Attwood also advocated countering economic depressions by increasing the money supply and  Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, said in his reply to Ms Lucas’ proposal, that he had done this in 2009, with the quantitative easing programme to bolster the crisis-hit economy, printing £375bn of new money and using it to buy government bonds.

He appeared to agree with both Attwood’s proposals up to a point, in that he said in his letter to Ms Lucas, that the bank could buy new types of assets instead of UK government bonds, if it ever has another round of quantitative easing.



Mark Carney and Sam Woods and Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governors at the Bank and ex-Treasury officials were speaking at an event in Liverpool called “Future Forum”, described as part of an initiative by the Bank of England to modernise its approach to communicating with the general public by deliberately trying to avoid complex economic language in order to the make itself more accountable.

They went to local schools and then to the town centre to speak to local people about what it is exactly the bank does. Mr Carney explained that it was founded in 1694, and “its purpose, its original mission, is the same mission as we have today, which is to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom”. And that mission’s goals are:

  • to keep prices low and stable to avoid Inflation which hurts the poorest the most.
  • to provide tools for children, 11 to 16, to understand the economy and how to make economic decisions.

And no more???




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