Businesses from Wrexham get a direct line to the Bank of England

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of England has given business leaders in Wrexham his view  on how the economy is faring.

Members of the Wrexham Business Professionals Group received a private, off-the-record briefing from Charlie Bean, a key figure on the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.

According to Mr Bean, it was a two way street because the feedback gained from a meeting like this helped the Bank formulate monetary policy.

The off-the-record private briefing at the town’s Ramada Plaza was attended by more than 50 Group members and their guests.

It was organised on the Group’s behalf by Gill Atkinson, one of their founder members.

Charlie Bean became Deputy Governor in 2008 having previously being the Bank’s Executive Director and Chief Economist from 2000.

He said: “It’s very interesting for me to come to this part of the world and in particular to meet with professionals from the Wrexham area and get a feel for what’s happening on the ground.

“The key thing that we as members of the Monetary Policy Committee get out of it is that we can hear from businesses what’s happening in their part of the economy.

“It’s also an opportunity for us to give a picture of how we see things for the Bank of England.

“When we set monetary policy there are three sources of information we rely on – official data from the Office of National Statistics, business surveys and what we hear from businesses on the ground.

“We have a network of Regional Agents talking to businesses all the time, we have 8,000 contacts around the country.

“Meetings like this are extremely valuable and a helpful source of initial source of information, particularly valuable when it’s not quite clear in which direction the economy might be headed.

“It’s a useful source of information which we can put into the melting pot to try and form our picture of not just where the economy is going but where it’s been – often that’s half the battle.

“When we change interest rates or quantitative easing asset purchases, it takes a couple of years for the effects to feed through so inevitably we have to try to look ahead to where the economy might be and what risks it might face.”

Gill Atkinson, a Director Chartered Accountants and Statutory Auditors Coxeys, said it was like “having a direct line to the Bank of England”.

She added: “It’s important that we have an inside track on the latest thinking because it helps us to help our clients.

“Wrexham is a brilliant place to do business, we have a great deal of professional expertise, whether that’s in the legal profession or accountancy. We punch above our weight.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Dr Helen Paterson, the Chief Executive of Wrexham County Borough Council.

She said: “Having Charlie Bean here is absolutely fantastic because he gave us a lowdown, an insight into the economy.

“It gave us the bigger picture which means we understand how what we do fits into the bigger picture – and hear things that aren’t on the radar of the public and the media.

“Getting the inside track means we can plan and be more flexible. The most important thing for us as a local authority is the economy, understanding its direction is incredibly important and invaluable to our work in supporting other businesses.”

Solicitor Robert Williams, a founder member of the Group and a Partner at Wrexham-based GHP Legal, added: “I think it was a wonderful opportunity to keep in contact with the core of policy making that affects us all in our everyday business lives.

“Everything the Bank of England decides has a big impact on what’s happening here in Wrexham.”

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