UK recovery from lockdown deserves more credit – BoE’s Haldane

FILE PHOTO: The Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, listens from the audience at an event at the Bank of England in the City of London, London, Britain April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, hailed the recovery so far in Britain’s economy after its coronavirus lockdown shock, striking a more upbeat tone than several of his colleagues recently.

Haldane told City A.M. newspaper that the “recovery isn’t being given enough credit” and the economy “has bounced back” in large part because consumers had shown themselves to be “incredibly resilient and adaptive and so too have businesses.”

Fellow interest-rate setters Michael Saunders, Deputy BoE Governor Dave Ramsden and Gertjan Vlieghe have recently expressed concern that Britain’s economy might take longer to recover than the BoE’s most recent forecasts.

Saunders said last week he thought Britain’s economy was likely to need more stimulus from the BoE.

Britain suffered its most severe economic contraction on record between March and June when it shrank by 20%, a worse performance than other large industrialised nations.

Haldane has consistently sounded more optimistic about the prospect of a relatively quick recovery.

He also told City A.M. that calls to extend the British government’s huge job retention scheme would prevent a “necessary process of adjustment” from taking place in the labour market as some companies looked set to fail.

Haldane told the newspaper in a podcast interview that the pandemic had already delivered “lasting structural change to the economy which does mean, regrettably, some businesses will probably not make it through and some jobs may well not be coming back.”

BoE Governor Andrew Bailey has similarly backed finance minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to wind down the job retention scheme by the end of next month.

Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Sandra Maler

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