The influential Treasury Select Committee could reject the Bank of England’s next senior appointment if the government does not appoint a woman, its chair said today.
Nicky Morgan, the MP who leads the committee, has written to the Treasury’s top civil servant, Sir Tom Scholar, demanding details of how it intends to address diversity in its appointments.
The committee does not have any powers to veto appointments made by the Treasury to the Bank of England’s top roles, but objections hold considerable weight, including prompting the resignation of former Bank deputy governor Charlotte Hogg – previously a favourite to govern the Bank in the future.
Morgan said: “The Treasury Committee is prepared to take progress on this matter into account in the next appointment made to any of the Bank of England’s policy committees.”
The committee raised its concerns as it rubber stamped the appointments of Bradley Fried as chair of the Court of the Bank of England, its de facto board, and Jonathan Haskel as a member of the monetary policy committee.
Morgan said: “Whilst the committee has approved the appointments of Professor Haskel and Mr Fried, it’s disappointing that the gender balance at the most senior levels of the Bank of England will not be improved.”
A Treasury spokesperson said the department is “committed to diversity and encouraging the broadest range of candidates” and pointed out that five of its last seven appointments to the Bank have been women.
“There is more to do and we are working with the public and private sectors to ensure that we are attracting a diverse range of candidates,” the spokesperson added.
The proportion of senior leaders at the Bank who are women fell slightly in the last year, from 30 per cent to 29 per cent, although still a significant improvement from the 16 per cent in 2013. The Bank aims to have 35 per cent women in senior leadership roles by 2020.