POLITICS

George Osborne Picks Nemat Shafik As Bank Of England Deputy Governor

18/03/2014 10:04 GMT | Updated 18/03/2014 10:59 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne gives a speech linked to the forthcoming referendum in Edinburgh, Scotland Thursday, Feb 13, 2014. Osborne told Scottish voters that if they vote for independence later this year, they will be walking away from the pound. In the tough speech in Edinburgh on Thursday, Osborne ruled out a currency union, insisting that the pound would not be an asset divided up after a "messy divorce." The other major U.K. parties are backing that view. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell, Pool)

George Osborne has appointed Dr Nemat Shafik as the Bank of England's new deputy governor for markets and banking after widespread criticism for his failure to appoint any women to the Bank's nine man Monetary Policy Committee.

Dr Shafik, who is deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund, will take her post this August, the Treasury announced.

Bank governor Mark Carney told MPs that he would be creating a fourth deputy governor responsible for markets after being grilled about the Bank's oversight of alleged foreign-exchange rate fixing, who would be tasked with carrying out a "root-and-branch review of how we conduct market intelligence". Shafik will also have to shape how the Bank winds down its quantitative easing programme of money printing, which so far has injected £375 billion of credit into the economy.

The lack of woman on the MPC, which sets the future path of interest rates, has forced the government to fend off accusations of a Tory "women problem" as the Treasury has ultimate responsibility for approving the appointments of all the members.

Teresa Pearce, Labour member of the Treasury select committee, told HuffPostUK: "When recruiting, people choose people they feel most comfortable with, and they feel comfortable with people who are like them. Until we have true diversity, we have to expect they will still choose people they play golf with."

Ex-MPC member professor Danny Blanchflower told HuffPostUK: "It doesn't seem to be that hard to find high quality female economists to join the MPC and other public bodies. The Tories do seem to have a problem with women.

Treasury minister Sajid Javid recently caused controversy for suggesting that women did not merit being on the committee as he said that "all appointments are made on merit".

Labour shadow treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said: "It’s pretty outrageous for a Treasury Minister to imply that the reason there are no women on the Monetary Policy Committee is because appointments are based on merit."

“These comments reflect a deeper problem within David Cameron’s government, which is totally out of touch with women across the country."

Bank of England governor Mark Carney was revealed by HuffPostUK to have piled pressure on Osborne to consider appointing female economists to the Bank's MPC.

The Treasury also announced today that current MPC member Ben Broadbent would take over from Charlie Bean in July as deputy governor for monetary policy and that Anthony Habgood would take over as chair of the Bank's board, known as the Court.