Below is an article written by one of our community members Sara Davies, who attended the meeting at the Dusty Forge with the Chief Economist from the Bank of England.
An hour with Andy Haldane
“The growing and vibrant Citizens UK Network is committed to using the tools of democracy, relationship building, and power to strengthen and encourage communities to work together for the common good” – Citizens UK, 2016.
‘Our ambitions, for our community, through our own efforts.’- ACE: Action in Caerau & Ely, 2017.
The morning of June 28th 2017, Ely and Caerau community members were presented with the opportunity to meet with the Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane. Andy was appointed as Chief Economist in 2014 and is also the Executive Director for Monetary Analysis, Research and Statistics whilst also being a member of the Monetary Policy Committee.
Mr Haldane is touring the UK as a part of an initiative set out by the Bank of England to gain perspective and insight into the everyday financial issues that are faced by society in Wales and the UK. Andy expressed how important it was to be able to meet with members of society outside of the Bank of England in London, to really understand the pressing issues amongst communities.
A recent speech given by Andy Haldane at the Federal Reserve bank of San Francisco, ( http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2017/speech971.pdf) provides a play on words of the famous Elvis Presley song “A little less conversation” with a whimsical change to “A little more conversation, a little less action.”
The speech highlighted the importance of the challenges faced by Central Banks in rebuilding trust amongst members of society. Through the efforts of Citizens UK Cymru and ACE – Action in Caerau and Ely, Haldane and his cohort met with community members to gain perspective and insight of real life issues outside of the hustle and bustle of London life.
To read more about Action in Caerau and Ely, Click here: https://www.aceplace.org/
To read more about Citizens UK, Click here: http://www.citizensuk.org/
To read more about the Bank of England, visit: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx
To read more about the Monetary Policy Committee, Click here: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/Pages/overview.aspx
First stop, the Dusty Forge:
Once Mr Haldane arrived, he was taken on a brief tour of the Dusty Forge Project with Dave Horton, Development manager of ACE, to give an insight into how the Dusty Forge project facilitates ACE in helping to develop, support and grow the community. Once the tour was complete, Andy sat amongst community members in what mirrored a roundtable discussion, where each member took their time to explain a little about their background, their experiences in the community and express their concerns that would later be brought up for discussion.
The main theme amongst the discussion was the ever increasing costs of living, in particular the rise in prices of necessities such as fuel and energy costs. Others expressed the difficulties that young families are facing with rising inflation meaning that having to buy or replace children’s shoes and clothes eats so much into family’s incomes that often it’s a choice between food and clothes. Andy and his cohort agreed that many of the difficulties families are facing are due to upward pressures on prices, whilst economic activity and wages were not increasing in line with this.
It was brought to the attention of the party that more efforts need to be implemented to educate children from a young age on the importance of finance and economics. One member suggested implementing a scheme where each child in a classroom is given a £1 coin. The class would then have a discussion about money and finance and how to make money go further. The following week, the class would reconvene to discuss how each child had used the money in that week, and the test would be repeated with a new £1 coin. A scheme that seemed to spark an interest with Mr Haldane who agreed with the importance of education on money and finance.
There was a very pleasant and inviting atmosphere, where it seemed members felt comfortable sitting and discussing pressing matters with Mr Haldane, who was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2014.
The day was certainly successful in breaking down barriers between London and the rest of the UK. Andy had an inviting character and jumped at the opportunity to listen, to understand and to discuss matters that were most important to our community members. Whilst the Bank of England do not have full control over many of the difficult matters that societal stakeholders currently face, it was warming and refreshing for people from many different walks of life to come together and talk as one, an hour well spent.
Sara was brought up in the Ely and Caerau Community where she attended primary school, high school, and went on to graduate with a 1st Class Economics degree from Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2017. The meeting was an invaluable experience for an economics graduate and a community member.