The Government’s decision to back HS2 will boost the economy by giving investors confidence, one of the Bank of England’s most senior personnel has said.
Joanna Place, chief operating officer for the Bank of England, said that businesses will respond positively to the Government’s move on the rail project and in turn feel more optimistic on their own investments.
In an exclusive interview with The Yorkshire Post during a visit to Leeds, Ms Place added that the current Government was more likely to get through any prospective trade deal agreement through Parliament owing to its strong majority delivered at the December election.
Speaking on the same day it was confirmed that the HS2 project would go ahead, Ms Place said: “I think generally promises of infrastructure and delivery of infrastructure are going to boost the economy,
“It will help confidence for a start. I think businesses will look at the actions Government is taking and decide on their own investments and feel a bit more confident.”
Ms Place had been speaking to pupils at Horsforth School in Leeds about the work the bank does as part of its outreach programme.
When asked if she felt that business was feeling more confident and secure following the election of a stable government and the successful exit of the UK from the European Union, she said: “A lot of people were holding back but there is only so long you can hold back for.
“We still don’t know what is going to happen at the end of the transition period but I think this has given people confidence that we have now got time.
“The Government has got a majority so that if they want a deal to get through it is more likely to than perhaps when Theresa May was in power.
“With Brexit people have got certainty. Until the election, people were still wondering if it was going to happen or not.
“What people are wondering now is ‘what is Brexit going to look like?’.”
The operational boss was in Yorkshire as part of the Bank of England’s outreach programme to raise awareness of what its function is in society, something Ms Place said was important for the UK’s regions.
“It is partly because we are mostly based in London and that we have always felt that it is important that people understand what we do and how we do it and the importance of financial stability,” she said.
She added: “Part of our mission is not just delivering financial stability, it is ensuring that people understand what financial stability is why it is important.
“We want people to have certainty, we want people to feel confident that they can go to banks and withdraw money and its going to be there.”
When asked about sentiments expressed from those who had attended the sessions in Leeds, Ms Place said that people’s outlooks largely mirrored the national picture in that there was a slight increase in optimism.
She said: “People also said they felt they will be a little bit better off.
“Which is quite interesting as it suggested they expected to keep their jobs and also maybe get a slight pay increase.
“I would say that the poll told us they were cautiously confident.”