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Europe, Forex

BoE’s Bailey to make rare address to Conservative lawmakers

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LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey will address a private meeting of Conservative members of parliament on Wednesday after finance minister Rishi Sunak delivers an update on government measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19.

Sunak is expected to announce measures to limit a big surge in unemployment, which the BoE and other forecasters think is likely later this year, and in recent days he has already set out plans for billions of pounds of spending.

On the morning of Sunak’s last major fiscal statement on March 11, the BoE announced a surprise cut in interest rates. It has since committed to 300 billion pounds ($375 billion) of asset purchases – mostly government bonds – which have helped keep down borrowing costs for the government.

The central bank played down the significance and timing of Bailey’s upcoming meeting with Conservative lawmakers, saying it was part of his regular engagement with politicians from all major parties.

“The Governor will meet with members of the 1922 Committee on Wednesday 8 July to explain the Bank’s current analysis on the economic impact of Covid-19 and listen to their views,” the BoE said.

The 1922 Committee is made up of all elected Conservative members of parliament who do not serve as ministers.

While BoE governors regularly appear at public hearings of parliament’s cross-party Treasury Committee, meetings with the 1922 Committee are much rarer.

One long-serving member of the 1922 committee, who first heard of the governor’s upcoming appearance earlier on Monday, said he did not recall any such meeting in recent years.

“I’ve never seen a BoE governor here before,” he said.

Eddie George, who was BoE governor from 1993-2003, is the last governor known to have spoken to the committee.

The BoE declined to comment on when Bailey would next meet opposition Labour Party legislators. (Reporting by David Milliken and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)

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