Thursday, June 22, 2023

Bank Rate rise: It's all the fault of the workers!

Perhaps the governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, should get himself booked on to the next series of the radio comedy game show,

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Except this increase in the bank rate is no laughing matter. How much pain, desperation and despair is it going to take before you shake off your lethargic support for this social system that is based upon the exploitation of the majority and you realise that capitalism doesn’t give a jot about you?

The British Tory government, like the New Zealand Labour government, believes that high interest rates reduce demand and therefore limit price rises. In March 1984 the bank minimum lending rate was 8 percent Since then it has risen to the present 15 percent. So prices ought to have stopped rising. Actually they have gone up by 43 percent since March 1984 and are now rising faster than they were then. Since higher interest rates increase the income of the lenders by exactly the same amount as they reduce the spending power of borrowers, why should demand be affected?’

Socialist Standard Editors August 1990

From the MailOnline, June 22, ‘Andrew Bailey today told Brits to stop demanding 'unsustainable' pay rises after the Bank of England ramped up interest rates in a bid to curb inflation.

The governor warned that the current level of wage settlements 'cannot continue' as he defended heaping misery on mortgage-payers by raising the base rate from 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent.

Speaking to broadcasters after the bombshell move - far bigger than the 0.25 percentage point hike analysts have expected - Mr Bailey denied that he actively wanted to trigger a recession.

But he made clear he will do 'what is necessary' to bring inflation back to the 2 per cent target - less than a quarter of the current reading.

High wage settlements are among the factors that have spooked the markets and forced the Bank's hand, although it has been heavily criticised for failing to act early enough to combat prices.

Asked whether people were asking for too much, Mr Bailey - who earns around £575,000 a year - said: 'Let me be very clear on this, because it's an important issue.

'We've got to get and we will get inflation back to its target.

'To do that I have to be clear – and we expect inflation to come down this year – to do that we cannot continue to have the current level of wage increases,

'And we can't have companies seeking to rebuild profit margins which mean prices continue to go up at their current rates.

'But what I would say to people is we expect inflation to come down, and it is important then that price setting and wage setting reflects that.

'Because the current levels, I'll be absolutely honest, are unsustainable.'

Amid mounting panic in Tory circles, Rishi Sunak voiced support for the Bank's tough action. He also tried to cool concerns with a folksy town hall event performance insisting he is '100 per cent on it'.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also offered gave strong backing to the Bank, saying controlling prices is the 'only long-term way to relieve pressure on families with mortgages'.

'If we don't act now it will be worse later,' he added.

Mr Bailey has been coming under intense fire for failing to respond to inflation earlier, with some Treasury advisers arguing that Threadneedle Street now has no option but to force a recession...'

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