The Governor of the Bank of England has announced a change in the handling of monetary policy for the UK economy. Although the inflation target remains the same (CPI inflation of 2%) and the Bank remains committed to maintaining price stability as their main macroeconomic objective, they have decided to introduce forward guidance in the setting of policy interest rates. This takes the Bank of England closer to the approach to setting interest rates taken by the United States Federal Reserve.

Download this chart

BoE_Forward_Guidance.pptx

What is forward guidance?

Forward guidance means that interest rates will stay at their historic low level of 0.5 per cent and monetary policy in general will remain expansionary until the unemployment falls below seven per cent. More here from the BBC news website.

However, that link could be put aside if the inflation rate threatens to rise above 2.5% in the medium term. Another wind-check to this system is that if the Financial Policy Committee judges that the UK economy is in danger of experiencing another credit boom then the Monetary Policy Committee will also re-visit their decisions on interest rates.

According to Ed Conway from Sky News "The UK inflation target remains in place - in theory - but in practice it has become significantly less important." Developments in the labour market and real output growth are likely to become more significant in helping to shape the future path of policy interest rates and whether monetary policy is expansionary, contractionary or neutral in its effects on the wider economy.

Sky news - Forward Guidance, a Monetary Policy Gamble

Anatole Kaletsky (Reuters): Carney at the Bank of England confirms the end of monetarism and return of neo-Keynesian demand management

With the unemployment rate currently at 7.8% of the labour force and predictions from the Bank that the jobless rate may take between two to three years to drop to the 7% way-marker, we can expect the period of exceptionally low monetary policy interest rates to remain with us well into 2015 and possibly 2016. This is not good news for savers struggling to find any kind of interest rate that at least matches the current rate of CPI inflation.

Governor Carney's response to this is to argue that what the economy needs most is a return to growth - in his words an economy growing sufficiently quickly to achieve "escape velocity". The current recovery has been the weakest for decades and real GDP remains below the peak achieved before the Global Financial Crisis took hold.

Video Resources on Forward Guidance from the Bank of England

Channel 4 News

Opening Remarks at the Bank of England Inflation Report (August 2013)

Background on the new Governor

Download the Forward Guidance document from the Bank of England using this link

Financial Times video on forward guidance

Channel 4 News Interview: Mark Carney: we have 'tremendous' sympathy for savers

BBC Interview

Featured
CPD courses

Economics Teachers National Conference 2015

Our popular Economics Teacher National Conference takes place on Monday 22 June 2015 at the superb Wellcome Collection Auditorium on Euston Road in Central London. This is the leading enrichment CPD event for Economics teachers in the UK and always attracts a good number of teaching colleagues from further afield too!Confirmed speaker line-up:Duncan Weldon - BBC Newsnight Economics Correspondent (Economic Policy after the Election)Sir Paul Collier, Oxford University - Where next for Development Economics?Adrian Woolridge (The Economist) - The Great DisruptionDavid Smith (Economics Editor of the Sunday Times) Prospects for the UK EconomyOur delegate prices are:Single Delegate - £175 per personDepartment Deal - £125 per person (for two or more colleagues attending from the same school or college)PGCE / NQT - £75 per person

Learn more ›

Teaching & learning products

The UK Economy in 2015 Revision Guide

This new full colour 28 page revision guide by tutor2u's Geoff Riley provides all AS & A2 Economics students with a data and chart-rich summary of the key issues facing the UK Economy in 2015.

£4.00

AS Microeconomics Revision Guide

This 48-page, full-colour printed revision guide written by tutor2u's Geoff Riley is designed to support students preparing for their AS Economics exams on microeconomics.

£4.00