The Bank of England has come under fire for a lack of diversity in top positions – and an influential group of MPs may summon the Chancellor for a grilling over their concerns.
Just one woman currently sits on the Bank’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), whose members are appointed by the Treasury.
Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has now written to Philip Hammond asking for evidence that enough is being done to encourage gender and ethnic diversity in recruitment.
The committee said it was “concerned about the composition of the policy committees, and in particular about diversity at the most senior levels in the Bank of England”.
The MP said: “The Treasury must make all efforts to encourage as diverse range of candidates for the Bank’s policy committees as possible.”
She added that the Treasury had been asked for specific confirmation that its recruitment processes follow the wider remit for public appointments to achieve greater diversity, including ethnic minorities.
The letter requests that the department publishes recent historical data, including a gender breakdown of applicants vying for membership of the MPC or the Financial Policy Committee.
The committee has approved the appointment of the Bank of England’s new deputy governor Sir Dave Ramsden and new external MPC member Silvana Tenreyro – now the rate-setting committee’s only female member after the recent departures of two other women from the body.
But Ms Morgan said that, in future, MPs expect to be provided prior to appointment hearings “with diversity data on the candidates applying to the associated position”.
She added the select committee “would be interested in taking evidence” from the Chancellor or the “most appropriate minister or senior official” on the issue.
Earlier this week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney admitted that the lack of women in senior positions was “an issue” for the Bank and that it had taken extensive action to correct this.
The Treasury said: “Our recruitment process is fair and open for senior appointments to the Bank of England, but we recognise there is still more to do to improve diversity.”