Friday, 9 October 2009

In search of Mr Bean the Banker

As Deputy Convenor of the Economy Committee I have a number of times over the past year requested the presence of the Bank of England to give evidence and speak to the comittee as part of our inquiry into the banking system.

I am now bemused to learn of the disappearance of the Bank Of England's Depute Governor, Charles Bean, from a lecture he was due to give in Inverness.

Only earlier this week I challenged Mr Bean, or any of the Bank's other senior representatives, to appear in front of the Committee only to receive a snub reply that they refused. This is in stark contrast to the Office of Fair Trading, the Financial Services Authority and UK Financial Investments who are all set to give evidence at the inquiry.

As it turns out, just following their refusal, Mr Bean has since cancelled the speaking engagement in Inverness without explanation. It is a shame as well as I would have liked to ask him in person why he or anyone else from the bank refuses to appear in front of the committee.

Their information would be a vital strand in the overall inquiry which has already taken evidence from the BBC's Robert Peston, and will receive written from the Treasury as will addressed by the Financial Services Authority in due course.

It beggars belief that they can make themselves available all over Scotland but not in the country’s Parliament! This is an important inquiry, but without an examination of the Bank of England’s role in recent economic events we cannot get to the bottom of what happened in the industry and, more importantly, focus on the future.

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