We’re not going woke, says Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey after slave art is removed 

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Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey refused to ‘wake up’ the institution after deciding to remove artwork related to the slave trade.

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Speaking at a Cambridge University event last night, Bailey revealed that many of the squirrels she made earlier this year will reappear at Banks’ museum, which is open to the public.

He claimed this would be an opportunity for us to ‘play our part and explain the history of the slave trade’, adding that it was ‘better’ to display ‘problematic items’ in the public part of the bank where we could explain it . ,


Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey (pictured) told students in Cambridge that items that were removed would reappear in the Bank’s museum

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Bailey said: ‘It’s not because we’ve woken up, whatever that word really means. It was: let’s put [the items] There and explain it and, because I’ve had a lot of discussions with people in the bank about this, let’s not make them sit in meeting rooms and feel difficult because they’re looking at these images.’

This summer the bank, which dates back to 1694 but has been at its Threadneedle Street location in London since 1734, has stopped displaying oil paintings and statues of seven former governors and directors.

After review, the organization found that they were involved in the transatlantic slave trade – although the bank itself was not directly involved in the financing of slavery.

Bailey said: ‘If you are a member of staff at the Bank of England from an ethnic background, would you need to sit in a room to see a picture of a person who owned slaves?’

This comes as the bank is trying to promote its diversity, and has established networks for women, people from ethnic minorities, employees with disabilities, and LGBT activists.

At the Cambridge Union event, chaired by economist Mohamed El-Arian, Bailey declined to provide any further guidance about when a bank might choose to raise interest rates.

Its policymakers are due to meet in three weeks’ time, and are widely expected to raise rates by 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent to beat rising inflation.

The bank has so far been reluctant to hike rates, worried that a premature move could hamper the UK’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But data from the Confederation of British Industry showed there was a surge in stores in November, as sales jumped.

With strong jobs and manufacturing data in recent weeks, figures suggest the UK economy is stable.

But as prices continue to rise, supply chain hold-ups, and rising energy bills, have led to the bank believing it needs to raise rates.


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